Physical activity in any form has many benefits. It usually makes us feel better, and over time, we probably even look better. When we’re active, we also have the opportunity to improve our overall health.
Martial arts is a great physical workout. However, it also has the unique ability to affect our mental and emotional health in a positive way.
In Martial Arts: Mindful Exercise to Combat Stress, a 2015 study published by the European Journal of Human Movement, researchers took a closer look at how martial arts can combat chronic stress through mindfulness. (source)
Researchers were particularly interested in martial arts and mindfulness because of the nature of the sport itself.
A martial art is the combination of physical movements with strategy and a variety of precise and coordinated techniques conducted for combat purposes. At the same time, martial arts combines a physical component with a high level of concentration.
When the physical and mental aspects of martial arts work together, this mind-body combination is what can increase mindfulness levels. Other activities, such as reading, also encourage mindfulness. However, the increase in mindfulness is more significant in martial arts because the body and mind are working together.
When people become more mindful, it has a positive impact on stress management. Over time, a decrease in chronic stress then improves a person’s quality of life and well-being. The longer you practice martial arts, the greater the reduction in stress.
Each time you practice martial arts, you are taking small steps to make positive changes to your overall health. With your body and mind focused on a single activity, you are training yourself to be more mindful. As you become more mindful, you experience less stress. And when you experience less stress, your overall health improves.
If you’re interested in learning more about the martial arts that we offer at Ascendant Martial Arts (and fighting stress with mindfulness), contact us today.