MENTAL HEALTH BENEFITS OF MARTIAL ARTS
Be honest, how many times have you not turned up to training because you’ve had a bad day at work, or you’re too tired!
I’ll admit I have before, and I can guarantee that if you didn’t train, you stayed feeling stressed or tired, or ended up having a few too many beers!!
Think about it, we rarely see people leaving the gym looking stressed. It’s not just a positive mindset that you need to train hard. It’s because that exercise – and physical activity in general – are proven to have positive effects on mental stability. There’s extensive research that shows that exercise results in the release of endorphins (“feel good” chemicals) into the brain, which boost your positive mood, self-esteem, concentration, and overall wellness. What’s more endorphins are addictive. Nature made it that way to ensure that as cavemen we were always motivated to chase our food! So basically the more you train the more you want to train.
Martial Arts has become an increasingly popular form of exercise. Whilst Martial Arts demand agility, endurance and strength, a large part of of it is about improving mental stability, focus and control through “inner strength.”
Here are 5 Mental Health Benefits of Martial Arts that I’ve personally found:
- It Decreases Stress
Stress is among the top causes of health issues in the UK today. A number of studies have shown that prolonged stress can result in heart disease, anxiety, chronic headaches and much more. Kickboxing & Karate demand a high level of cardio and focus. When you train you forget the day’s irritations and are forced to concentrate only on your lesson. Tensions in your mind and body are also released through movement and physical activity..
- It Releases “Feel Good” Chemicals
Physical activity works to increase the production of your brain’s “feel-good” neurotransmitters called endorphins. This results in increased energy, positivity and optimism, which can help you to remain calm and clear in your day to day life. You also get strong dopamine levels, which can help improve your mood.
- It Decreases Anger and Frustration
Martial Arts provide a constructive outlet for frustration in a safe and controlled environment. Let’s be honest, it feels really good to take your anger out physically on a willing sparring partner. You get the opportunity to go all-out (speed not power!!!!) because your opponent is someone with whom you’ve consented to fight, and because combat takes place under the careful guidance of our instructors.
- It Increases Confidence and Self Esteem
Like any form of exercise, you feel a sense of achievement and success when you put in a lot of effort. The Martial Arts in particular promote such confidence boosting, because it’s very easy to see the improvement and development of your form and ability. Also, the physical results you see will not only help you look and feel better, but also act as proof of your efforts and accomplishments.
- It Helps you Relax
Martial Arts teach us the ability to mentally relax through meditation and focused breathing techniques. It also teaches us the skill of mental control in order to push our limits. The skills help us to cope with sudden stresses, in training if you’re fighting and in everyday life.
I have no doubt at all that my training helps me. It’s those times when you really don’t feel like training that you should force yourself to go. You’ll feel so much better for it and most likely train the best you ever have as you’ll put maximum effort into it.