Whether you love it or hate it, running is one of the oldest forms of sport – and has remained popular even till today. Besides being a great way to stay in shape, running also gives you a host of benefits such as increasing energy, reducing stress, and boosting heart health, among others.
What’s more, you can run practically anywhere! So it doesn’t matter whether you’d rather be surrounded by nature and do it outdoors, or on a treadmill in the gym.
If you’re a martial artist looking to elevate your game, then maybe it’s time to consider running on a regular basis – because it’s one of the best ways to take your fitness to greater heights.
1) It boosts your stamina and endurance
The more you run, the better your stamina will be. Also, your muscles will have greater endurance for intense physical activity. When you improve your stamina and endurance, you’d be able to go harder for longer periods of time. That means you’d be able to power through that Muay Thai class without getting worn out as quickly!
For martial artists, we suggest doing interval running – which is basically mixing jogging with sprints – because this covers both aerobic and anaerobic cardio training. It’s important to work on both, because aerobic cardio enables you to last through longer periods while anaerobic cardio allows you to use high levels of energy in short, quick bursts.
Do note that it’s important to start slow if you’re new to running, as overusing your muscles before your body is conditioned might result in injuries.
2) It builds your core, leg, back, and hip muscles
Did you know that running is a great way to strengthen your core? This is because your core muscles have to work together in order for your spine to stay aligned when you run. What’s more, when you do trail running, your core works harder to keep you stable and balanced on the uneven terrain.
Apart from your core, running also helps build muscles and increase the bone density of your legs, back, and hips. This is all thanks to the constant impact that happens when you run. Of course, you have to make sure that you’re fuelling up with the right foods in order to reap this benefit!
3) It increases your lung capacity
Do you sometimes gas out when you’re grappling or sparring? Well, it’s normal to get breathless when you’re exerting yourself. A great way to strengthen your lung capacity is running – because your lungs work with your heart and circulatory system to transport oxygen to your muscles for energy production.
The more you run, the more your lung capacity increases. Over time, you’ll fine that it’s easier to breathe smoothly even during the most intense moments of your workouts.
4) It strengthens your ligaments and joints
According to James Fries, M.D., Professor of Medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine, cartilage cells get weak and sick without exercising. This is because when you run, the cartilage in your ankles, knees, and hips compresses and expands. Hence, flushing away waste products and keeping your cartilage healthy.
When you strengthen your ligaments through running, you’re actually also improving your joint health. Hence, you’ll be less vulnerable to strains during your martial arts training.
5) It keeps your mind sharp
It has been reported that runners are better thinkers, because running plays a part in improving memory and learning.
We’re about to get scientific here, but you’d probably like to know that when you run, your body gets better at producing a protein called estrogen-related receptor gamma (ERRy), which basically controls the release of energy to your muscles and brain.
“The heart and muscles need a surge of energy to carry out exercise and neurons need a surge of energy to form new memories,” shares Prof Ronald Evans, director of Salk Institude for Biological Studies in California.
Perhaps running plays a part in helping you to pick up those new techniques faster, and remember them. Although, of course, we still strongly believe that drilling is best way to nail down techniques!
6) It helps you to shed fat
Running is a great way to burn fat, because you can burn up to 11 calories per minute, depending on your pace. What’s more, you don’t have to learn how to run because it’s something you can already do. That means it’s easier to push past your limits and of course, get in shape!
Are you ready to take your fitness to the next level and maximize your performance as a martial artist? Go on, put on those running shoes, and get up and go!