When you think of martial arts, one of the first things that probably comes to mind is self-defense. Yes, martial arts is great for the body, but also for the mind. There are undeniable benefits from hitting the gym everyday, but the monotony of the treadmill or elliptical can lead you to stop showing up out of pure boredom.
Research has shown us that jogging can help life expectancy and yoga can increase our mood. While martial arts can help you defend and protect yourself, it can boost your brain’s cognition too.
Martial arts training is a full body workout. Not only that, but the movements that you perform are not what you would find in your typical gym. There won’t be any dumbbells or stationary bikes in the dojo. Instead you will learn techniques that result in a more well-rounded level of strength and functional fitness that you can use in everyday life.
Uniting the mind and body. All martial arts disciplines require focus, control, and mind-body awareness. Repeated practice has been shown to build cognitive function, self-esteem, self-awareness, and respect of self and others. Studies have shown that martial arts practitioners of all ages and levels had significantly better performance on attention and creativity tests, as well as significantly higher levels of self-esteem. Other studies have shown that martial arts training improves behavioral outcomes for youth with autism spectrum disorders, including stereotypical behaviors, social-emotional functioning, cognition, and attention.
In a US study with children aged between 8-11 years old were given traditional martial arts training that focused on respecting other people and defending themselves. The children were also taught bow to maintain self-control in heated situations. This study found that martial arts training significantly reduced the level of aggressive behavior in boys.
There is far more to martial arts than just kicking and breaking boards. Karate has been practiced for both self-defense and spiritual development for hundreds of years and only recently have researches had the methods to asses the true extent of how this practice affects the brain.
There is such a wide range of martial arts, some gentle and meditative while others physically intensive. With that said there is a type for everyone to enjoy, go see how it can boost your brain.