Training martial arts like Boxing, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and Muay Thai gives you a great workout that never gets boring. It strengthens your body and improves your cardiovascular endurance. It also provides you with various mental benefits that will carry over into other aspects of your life, like lower stress levels, improved cognitive function, and a more positive outlook.
This article will explore some of the ways learning a martial art improves your mental health.
Improving your mental wellness with martial arts
Most people think about cool-looking fighting techniques when martial arts are brought up, but most combat styles come with strong philosophies that revolve around values like perseverance, discipline, integrity, and respect.
Physical activities, in general, are great for your mental well-being, but the process of learning a martial art gives you a lot more than that. Learning a martial art is a social activity that helps build your self-esteem through physical activity and the experiences you share with your training partners.
The training improves your assertiveness, concentration, and your ability to stay relaxed under pressure. These are all traits that can give you an edge in any aspect of your life. Let us take a more detailed look at some of the ways martial arts improve your mental health:
1) Provides a medium to release pent up frustration and anger
We all deal with things that can leave us feeling angry or frustrated regularly. Martial arts training gives you a way to release all those negative emotions and purge them from your body. Pent-up anger increases your risk of developing heart issues, and it can negatively impact your mood.
Martial arts training gives you an intense aerobic and anaerobic workout, and you get to punch and kick all your frustration away. The intense physical workout you get leads to feel-good hormones being released in your brain, lifting your mood. You walk out of the gym feeling like a Zen master, ready to calmly tackle any obstacles that come your way.
2) It makes you more mindful
Learning a martial art improves your mindfulness. New students are frequently told to relax when drilling or sparring since people have a natural tendency to tighten up when they feel uncomfortable. You might tense up while an instructor practices a technique on you, prompting them to encourage you to relax.
Instructors and experienced training partners often do this since they know how hard it can be to take in all the information given to you when you are anxious or restless. It also leads to you wasting energy when sparring as you hastily try to perform techniques instead of waiting for the right moment.
The improved calmness and concentration you learn from your training carry over to other aspects of your life. It makes you a better student and leads to better work performance.
3) Widens your social network
While learning a martial art is probably not the first thing that comes to your mind when it comes to making new friends, it turns out the dojo is an excellent place to meet new people. Your passion for the martial art you’re learning serves as a foundation for healthy relationships, and the supportive environment the gym fosters leads to everyone being on their best behavior.
Martial arts training is such an effective way to meet people, we highly recommend it for any adults who are making significant life changes like moving to a new country. You might even get struck by Cupid’s arrow while training at the gym.
4) Increases your self-confidence and self-esteem
Black belts are made, not born. Everyone starts as a white belt, and they slowly progress through the ranks. Some white belts don’t even have any intent to pursue their training all the way to becoming a black belt. Some are only looking for a fun new activity to add to their workouts or something that gets them off their couch.
Most people have the same experience when they first start training. They typically struggle with many of the drills performed during their classes or the techniques being taught. They typically don’t fare any better during sparring, and they often find themselves on the losing end.
Things don’t stay that way forever, though.
Most students eventually build up the endurance needed to perform any drills requested by the instructor without getting gassed. Their execution of techniques improves, and they might even start winning some of their sparring matches.
Then comes the belt promotion. Suddenly, the same white belt who struggled with their training becomes noticeably more skilled than students walking through the door for the first time. They might even get the best of some more advanced students during their sparring matches.
Suddenly, you realize you now know how to defend yourself, and you know you have what it takes to take your training as far as you can. It gives you a nice confidence boost, knowing you can excel at anything you put your mind to.
5) Teaches you to go with the flow
Learning a martial art helps you to develop a flexible mindset that makes it easier for you to navigate through life. It teaches you how to remain calm in the face of adversity and problem solve under stress. Martial arts like BJJ are often compared to chess due to how cerebral things can get during sparring matches and competitions. Put two equally sized and skilled competitors on the mat, and the better problem-solver often emerges victorious.
Training martial arts also teaches you not to force things as you go about your daily activities. It teaches you to go with the flow and attack only when opportunities present themselves.
Strengthen your mind with martial arts classes
Martial arts provide your body with an intense mix of aerobic and anaerobic exercises that take your physical fitness to levels you’ve never reached before. It also workouts your mind, making you a more confident, more assertive, less stressed, and calmer version of yourself.
Ready to give martial arts a try? Stop by one of Evolve MMA’s complimentary introductory classes to learn firsthand what training looks like.
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