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Martial Arts & Self Defense
Any of several arts of combat and self-defense that are widely practiced as sport. There are armed and unarmed varieties, most based on traditional fighting methods used in East Asia. In modern times, derivatives of armed martial arts include kendo (fencing with wooden swords) and kyudo(archery). Unarmed varieties include aikido, judo, karate,kung fu, and tae kwon do. Because of the influence of Taoism and Zen Buddhism, there is a strong emphasis in all the martial arts on the practitioner’s mental and spiritual state. A hierarchy of expertise, ranging from the novice (“white belt”) to the master (“black belt”), is usually recognized. (Source: Merriam-Webster, Incorporated)
Chances are, you have seen someone participate in martial arts, but you may not be aware of its many exercise benefits. No matter if you are interested in improving your cardiovascular health, losing weight or simply improving your mood, martial arts may be just what you need.
1. Improved Cardiovascular Health
One of the most important exercise benefits associated with martial arts is an improvement in your cardiovascular health. Your cardiovascular system is composed of your heart, as well as the veins and arteries that transport blood. A weak cardiovascular system can result in shortness of breath, weakness, fatigue, and in severe cases can even cause a heart attack. Research has found that the only real way to improve the status of the cardiovascular system is by participating in activities that stress the heart. Cardiovascular exercise consists of walking, biking, swimming and of course participating in martial arts. For best results, try to get in at least 30 minutes most days a week.
2. Weight Loss
Weight loss is another great benefit associated with martial arts. In one pound of fat is equal to approximately 3,500 calories. Therefore, in order to lose one pound of fat in a week, you must eliminate 500 calories from your diet each day. By participating in one hour of moderate intensity martial arts, you can definitely burn 500 calories. You will be well on your way to great weight loss results.
3. Increased Muscle Tone
By participating in martial arts, you can greatly improve the amount of muscle mass you have in your body. The more muscle you have, the more toned your body will look. The higher your muscle mass, the higher your metabolic demands will be, and subsequently the more calories you will burn each day, thereby helping prevent obesity and even leading to potential weight loss. High levels of muscle mass also lead to increased agility, thereby preventing falls as you age.
4. Improved Reflexes
In order to be a good martial artist, you must have very fast reflexes. Research has found that by participating in martial arts, you not only improve your reflexes while performing the activity, but actually experience faster reaction times during all activities of your life. This is very important in a number of daily activities, such as driving and even cooking.
5. Improved Mood
Researchers have found that participating in a regular exercise routine is one of the best ways to improve your mood. Performing martial arts is not only a good way to relieve stress and frustration, but may actually help to make you happier. You won’t only feel the effects during the activity, either. The endorphins released by physical activity appear to be active in your body for as many as four hours after exercise. (Source: Internet Brands, Inc.)Helpful Links about Martial Arts & Self Defense
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