Studies show that as we get age, so do our brains. We eventually start to lose our memory and worse, gradually lose the executive functions of our brains. We’ve seen what happens to our grandparents and our other older relatives – their brains age and deteriorate due to lack of stimulation.
But other research proves that it’s possible to prevent this deterioration. A stimulating environment, such as one found in a martial arts setting, can create new supporting cells in your brain. For this to happen, your body needs exercise.
Thus, instead of giving in to Mother Nature, we can counter the inevitable by practicing martial arts.
Today, Evolve Daily shares 5 Ways Martial Arts Makes Your Brain Work Faster:
1) Because you are learning something new
When you attend a martial arts class, you become exposed to new techniques that eventually become part of your repertoire. You practice them several times in class and drill them even after class. Being exposed to all these techniques undoubtedly makes your brain work double time.
This is also known as cumulative learning or the layering of information. By constantly engaging in cumulative learning, studies show that you can also sharpen memory, sequential ordering, and language.
2) Because we take notes
Nothing stimulates your brain more than constantly working it — even when you’re not at training. Great minds like Leonardo da Vinci always carried notepads to take down ideas and sketches. ONE Lightweight World Champion and BJJ Black Belt Shinya Aoki is also known for writing down techniques, latest achievements, and training strategies.
Although it isn’t required, many martial arts students carry notebooks for this very purpose. Note-taking encourages constant thinking and memory building. These not only train your technical knowledge, but enhance it as well.
3) Because we problem solve
Those who practice martial arts know all too well the amount of problem solving needed during each class. Whether it’s while figuring out techniques during drills or while thinking about which tactics to use against sparring partners, martial artists often find themselves problem solving.
In order to problem solve, our brains use brain plasticity, the formation of new connections that occur when we take in new information. Doing so will keep your mind in the habit of thinking analytically.
4) Because we need to be ambidextrous
In Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, you are often required to practice techniques using both sides of the body. Regardless of whether you are left or right handed, being strong and technical on both sides is definitely an added advantage. This is especially important when you compete because you never know which angle a competitor may come from.
The more ambidextrous you are, the more active and alert your mind is. Being ambidextrous forces your mind to work double time, especially when it is working the “weak side”.
5) Because we need to strategize
The longer you practice martial arts, the better your strategy making skills become. You grow more aware of how to analyze your opponent’s strengths and weaknesses and how to use them against him. This is especially important in sparring, when all you have is your strategy and your repertoire of techniques to use against your opponent.
By strategizing, you not only improve your logical thinking but you also stimulate the visual (right) and verbal (left) parts of your brain. You’ll also need focus and concentration, which further enhance brain activity.
Remember, the more you challenge your brain, the less of a chance it will have to deteriorate. Through martial arts, you can constantly test yourself and develop your mind to perform greater and more complex skills. There’s no doubt that martial arts is the key to keeping our minds alert, giving us the power to conquer new skills for the future.