Updated: Nov 5, 2021
It is important to vary your training approaches. Sticking to one type of exercise can get repetitive and eventually lead to stagnation, so try adding different sports or activities to your repertoire. One of these alternative sports should be martial arts or boxing/pad work.
There are many different martial arts styles around today, each with its unique techniques, methods and traditions. While the styles may differ in these aspects, the benefits you gain from training in them remain the same.
1. Stress relief
Stress, unfortunately, has become a common part of life. For some people meditation works, for others, aromatherapy works. Some people, on the other hand, find that being able to vent their frustrations out on a punchbag or pads does the trick (I am one of those people)! Being able to release built-up tension, anger and frustration can help many deal with the negative emotions and martial arts can provide a healthy, safe outlet for these emotions.
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Traditional martial arts such as Kung Fu and Karate place a great emphasis on discipline and respect. Students are expected to respect their seniors, the rules of the club and fulfil their duties such as helping out the class and attending lessons regularly. These qualities can, and should, be carried over into everyday life to help you better control your life. Respecting those in senior positions, turning up on time to appointments and working to better both yourself and whatever establishment you work for or participate with are all honourable qualities which you would obtain by training in a martial art.
Ok, so I have joined these two points together because they are intrinsically connected. Knowing you have the ability to potentially defend yourself from physical harm builds your confidence in situations where you may be in danger. Having that confidence makes you seem like less of a target, therefore reducing the chances of you getting into an altercation. Don't be fooled, no amount of "self-defence" training can prepare you for a real situation, but knowing you have the skills to protect yourself can greatly help you.
When it comes to cardiovascular fitness, it is always important to consider what you are achieving other than fitness itself.
If you have ever done a session on the sparring mitts or a heavy bag you can attest to it being a tough workout - especially when you become competent at the skill. Going all out for 30 seconds then resting for the same period of time can leave you gasping for air in a pool of sweat on the floor. As a cardio workout, it is fantastic. Yet the fitness benefits to martial arts training don't end there.
Doing traditional martial arts such as kungfu requires you to perform specific movements that regular exercising does not. There is a lot of holding low stances, balancing and powerful movements, all of which require great amounts of muscular coordination. Give martial arts a try and feel muscles you didn't even know you had work.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
John Maitland is a personal trainer with over 13 years of experience. He has worked alongside a wide range of leading CEO's, entrepreneurs and medical professionals. John is a keen athlete and holds a black belt in Shaolin Kung fu. A fan of the great outdoors, he can often be found exploring the British countryside and mountains...or breaking pine boards with his fingers.