If you have ever found yourself around a bunch of martial artists, you might find yourself wondering why they always seem so zen and mentally sharp. You rarely see anyone walking out of a martial arts gym feeling stressed.
That’s because martial arts is more than just a physical activity that teaches you fighting techniques. No, martial arts also work out your mind when you train.
Let’s go over the physical benefits of training a martial arts.
Any form of exercise, in general, is good for your overall mental health. One of the primary reasons why this is so is because physically intensive exercises cause a release of feel-good chemicals like dopamine which is released into your brain. The release of these feel-good chemicals boosts your self-esteem, mood, and ability to concentrate.
Now on to the mental benefits.
Martial arts provide a host of mental benefits that will be beneficial to you in your work and home life. Some of these benefits come directly from the time you spend on the mat training, while others come as a result of the values you learn in the martial arts gym.
Here’s how martial arts improve your cognition:
1) It reduces your stress levels
Stress is a major hazard to your health. It is one of the leading causes of health issues all over the world. Dealing with stress for elongated periods of time can lead to chronic headaches, heart disease, anxiety, and many other health issues.
When you attend a martial arts training session, you get an effective cardio workout that can burn up to 1,000 calories in an hour while your mind is focused on learning the techniques and drills you are being taught. A few minutes into your training and the things that are bothering you are no longer on your mind, allowing you to release all the tension inside you.
In addition, part of your martial arts training will also include breathing exercises borrowed from other ancient arts like yoga. These breathing exercises generally help you to stay more focused and in control of your emotions. They will also help you lower your stress levels.
Your cognitive abilities are generally sharper when you aren’t tense with emotions or worried about a thousand different things instead of focusing on the task at hand.
2) It releases dopamine
We went over how physical exercise leads to the release of feel-good chemicals like dopamine, and we mentioned how it helps improves your mood and ability to concentrate. When you are focused on whatever lies in front of you and can keep a positive attitude about it, the odds of you coming up with a good solution is significantly increased.
3) It teaches problem-solving skills
Learning a bunch of techniques and performing drills is only half of the equation when it comes to progressing through the ranks as a martial artist.
You might know a bunch of techniques, but they won’t be much use to use if you can’t recognize the best scenarios to use these techniques. The winner of any given contest or sparring session isn’t always the person who knows more moves; it’s the person who knows how to put it all together.
It’s a game of chess, with each player waiting for the other to make the first mistake.
Just as playing strategy games like chess is good for your cognitive abilities, so is regularly training martial arts and sparring. It’s the sparring part that really teaches you how to blend all your techniques together since instead of a cooperative training partner, you’re now dealing with an opponent who has plans of his/her own.
4) Helps channel anger and frustration
Let’s be honest, life doesn’t always go as planned. We all end up feeling frustrated or even angry from time to time. When not properly addressed, these negative emotions can end up having a negative impact on your personal and professional life. Anger and frustration also often leads to you making poor choices.
That’s pretty evident when we take a close look at the world around. Taunting is a part of life because it works. It also a big part of professional sports and other competitive avenues. We are all more likely to make a stupid choice when we are feeling angry or frustrated.
When you train martial arts, you get to take out all your frustration on your sparring partners and heavy bags. By the time you are done training, it will all be out of your system. That allows you to focus on the important things you have to do in your professional and personal life.
5) Boosts self-esteem
When you start training martial arts, you get a sense of achievement as you gradually pick up more things and improve. The physical benefits of training become apparent right away as you feel your body getting stronger and tougher.
You will also be aware of the rate at which you are developing as a martial artist as you add new techniques to your inventory. Your ever-increasing knowledge of techniques and the transformation of your body will serve as positive affirmation that all your hard work and effort has not been in vain. That motivates you to want to train even harder. It also teaches you that you can accomplish anything that you want to as long as you put in the work.
When you believe in your ability to solve any given problem, the odds of you actually being able to find a solution increases exponentially.
6) Teaches control of the mind
Martial arts training helps you to harness the full potential of your mind. It teaches you to push your limits and persevere when things get tough. These are the types of traits that come in handy when you find yourself with a problem that needs a solution.
If you’re looking for a way to improve your cognitive ability, signing up for martial arts classes is an effective way to go. Start your journey by signing up for a complimentary trial class today!
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