Balance is such an important part of athleticism and martial arts. Having good, strong balance is important even in everyday activities. To ensure safety whenever we are making any physical movement, balance is essential. As we get older, our balance can also deteriorate, and we don’t want this to happen. Good balance is key to enjoying a healthy and functional life.
There are many ways to train balance. Martial arts, in particular, can improve various aspects of our physical and mental capacity, which in turn directly affects our balance. The ability to control your body’s position, especially while moving and performing physical activities has many proven benefits.
Martial arts works out the entire body, from the base, to the upper torso, to the all-important core. It helps strengthen your legs and improves your flexibility, all the while enhancing your mental sharpness and focus, so you are always aware of your positioning. Practicing martial arts will improve your balance, which then, of course, improves the quality of your life.
If you always find yourself losing balance even while performing everyday mundane tasks, then perhaps you should consider training in martial arts. Martial arts has many benefits, far exceeding those that you gain from having better balance. But right now, we will be focusing on the effect of martial arts on your balance.
Today, Evolve Daily shares four ways martial arts can help improve balance.
1) Engages your core muscles
By directly engaging your core muscles, you gain a better sense of balance. The core is an important part of a person’s physicality. Those with strong, developed cores, are usually more athletic and stable. A strong midsection can help enhance the way we move, increasing our efficiency and execution.
Because martial arts is the ultimate full-body workout, expect your core to be consistently stimulated. The various techniques performed in striking arts, particularly boxing and Muay Thai, make very good use of the core muscles. This includes the abdomen, the obliques, and parts of the lower back. By performing striking techniques, we engage and strengthen the core without having to do a single sit-up or crunch (however sit-ups are a recommended part of martial arts training).
Developing the core is perhaps the most important component of having good balance. With a strong, healthy midsection, we become less wobbly and more sturdy, even when we are rocked with impact. It is important to note that the core includes a series of stabilizing muscles that are responsible for good posture and keeping us standing upright. So if you want a better core, martial arts is the way to go.
2) Strengthens your lower body and base
Another major target area in martial arts training is the lower body and base. The base is the foundation of our balance because our legs are what keep us on our feet. In martial arts disciplines such as Muay Thai, a lot of emphasis is placed on lower body movement. The myriad of kicking techniques ensures we are always using our legs to their full capacity.
In Muay Thai for example, practitioners execute various kicking techniques on a daily basis. This not only engages the glutes and the hamstrings, but also the obliques. Muay Thai practitioners are accustomed to the daily grind of honing striking combinations. After just a few sessions in Muay Thai, expect yourself to experience improved strength and power in your legs.
Other martial arts such as Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and wrestling also place great importance on a strong base and have their own drills and exercises to improve this area. Strengthening the base is essential to maintaining good posture and balance.
When we move around on our feet, the knowledge of proper feet placement and distancing gained through martial arts keeps us well-balanced and sturdy. Through constant training, we are able to then run more efficiently, jump higher and with better technique, and really just gain better balance overall.
3) Gives you enhanced sharpness and focus
What many don’t realize is that balance is also a mental activity. Having strong spatial and situational awareness will give us the ability to consciously stabilize and balance ourselves, especially in situations where we are hit with impact.
In martial arts, it is common to take a hit or two. Depending on the force of impact, there is enough power to knock us off balance. But by being spatially aware and learning how to anticipate certain situations where we can move off balance, we are able to maintain it. This, however, requires enhanced sharpness and focus.
Martial arts is as much a mental activity as it is a physical one. Through constant practice of techniques, self-reflection, and meditation which goes hand in hand with martial arts, we improve our sharpness and focus, making us mentally alert at all times. Even in situations where we are under duress, we are better able to maintain balance because of our mental sharpness.
Furthermore, mental sharpness can also compensate for a compromise or a lack of balance. If you find yourself inevitably off balance, mental sharpness can sometimes save the day.
4) Improves your flexibility
Lastly, flexibility is also an important factor in good, solid balance. Being able to change and widen your base by extending your body and legs. Having improved flexibility also allows your body to require less energy for performing movements while increasing your range of movement.
Great flexibility is effectively developed through the practice of martial arts. If we don’t engage our muscles, they naturally lose strength and size. The fact that martial arts really focuses on a full-body workout experience means we are utilizing nearly every muscle in the body. This results in joint strength and stability, muscle efficiency, and better flexibility, which is an important ingredient in having great balance.
Martial arts is the perfect activity to improve your balance and much more. Discover the many physical and mental benefits of martial arts. If you’re looking for a way to improve yourself each day, then martial arts could be just for you. Experience the benefits first hand and start your martial arts journey by booking a complimentary trial class today!
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