Have you ever wondered why fitness junkies always seem super Zen? Rarely do we encounter people leaving the gym looking stressed. It’s not just a mindset that you adopt in order to keep on working out effectively. Rather, exercise – and physical activity in general – have long been proven to have positive effects on mental stability. There’s a huge body of research that shows that exercise results in the release of ¨feel good” chemicals into the brain, ultimately boosting your positive mood, self-esteem, concentration, and overall wellness.
Martial Arts and its varied disciplines have become a widely popular form of exercise. Whilst Martial arts demand agility, endurance and strength, a large part of studying is about gaining mental stability, focus and control through meditation and learning to find your “inner strength.”
Here are 5 Mental Health Benefits of Martial Arts that we’ve come across:
It Decreases Stress
Stress is among the top causes of health issues in North America and the United Kingdom today. A number of studies have shown that prolonged stress can result in heart disease, anxiety, chronic headaches and much more. Martial arts demand a high level of cardio and focus. Many who practice find they forget the day’s irritations and are forced to concentrate only on their body’s movements. Tensions in your mind and body are also released through movement and physical activity.
Aside from that, a wide variety of martial arts also include breathing exercises, introduce meditation techniques, and generally promote discipline and control over one’s emotions. These are also very large contributors to stress reduction.
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 daily routine. 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 because your opponent is someone with whom you’ve consented to fight, and because combat takes place under the careful guidance of your 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 the ring and in everyday life.
The amount of people expressing interest in natural solutions for both physical and mental health issues over recent years indicates that many people are looking for alternatives to harsh prescription medication. We have all heard friends, family, or acquaintances talking about the benefits of going to the gym, however there has not been much information published on specific methods of exercise such as martial arts. This is something we are hoping will change, so why not help spread the word and share with us your own experience of how your martial arts studies has helped your overall mental health?
What are your favorite benefits of practicing Martial arts? Leave your comments below share your stories with others!