Darren Mitchell, a Muay Thai enthusiast, fitness fanatic and writer for the Best Muay Thai blog, who has trained for several years at gyms all over the world alongside some world-renowned fighters and coaches shared with Healthy Lombard that practicing martial arts is a fantastic way to improve both physical and mental health, regardless of your age. From a physical point of view, the training can be a tough workout, plus it improves physical abilities such as speed, power, balance, and flexibility. From a mental point of view, it builds self-confidence, teaches kids new skills and expands their comfort zone.
Here are five ways martial arts training can benefit you and your children…
It’s great for fitness
Martial arts is a great way to improve areas of your child’s fitness that they may not train in other forms of exercise. Alongside the obvious strength, power, and speed, they also improve your flexibility, movement, and balance. When you practice martial arts, a lot of the movements have to be executed off a single leg, or they require extreme flexibility, which is improved through practice.
It keeps the weight off
A typical class can burn off up to 1000 calories, depending on the type of session. During the fitness element of a session, there’s strength and cardio work which keeps kids fit and fight obesity. In the skills and sparring work, there will be a high-intensity exercise that will keep them burning a lot of calories. Best of all, it’s so much fun that they won’t even feel like they’re exercising!
It gets you out of your comfort zone
Martial arts puts kids into places and situations that force them to develop both mental and physical resilience. During the training they’ll have to engage in combat (wearing protection of course) that will put them into difficult positions, force them to think on their feet and will teach them humility when they come up against a better opponent. All of these things are necessary for personal growth and development.
Learning new skills is great for the mind
When you first start learning a martial art like karate or Muay Thai you’ll learn so many new skills – punching technique, kicking technique, defensive and attacking techniques, training techniques, stretching techniques, and dojo etiquette. Learning makes the brain active and sharp – it improves mental response time and general concentration, which crosses over into other areas of life such as school work and studying.
It teaches discipline
In martial arts, kids have to be disciplined and show respect to the sensei and other club members. If they want to learn the skills they have to practice, they have to follow instructions, they have to be patient and they have to trust the learning process. It teaches children discipline and patience that lots of people lack nowadays. It teaches us that learning is a long process and that mastery takes time and effort. Nothing worth having comes easy.
Martial arts benefits us all in lots of ways, regardless of our age. It’s a fantastic opportunity for kids to exercise whilst having fun, learn new skills and really improve their self-confidence. Additionally, martial arts teach skills such as concentration which will benefit them in school and with additional studies. Finally, martial arts classes get children away from a screen for a while, which is always good news for parents!
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