A common question among adults who inquire about classes at the Academy is “Am I too old to start training Martial Arts?” The answer obviously is that you are NEVER too old to try something new. Just in case you need more convincing, this article is going to review some of the excellent benefits of Martial Arts training for adults.
For the purposes of this article, I’m going to split the benefits into “Physical” health and “Mental” health. In my experience it is the mental health benefits of training that keep our adult students committed to their training, but we will take a moment first to look at the physical health benefits.
In our classes we have three main goals, no matter the age group. We SWEAT, we learn something new and we have fun. For adults especially, the first point is the most important. In general, the physical health benefits that come from martial arts training are not terribly different from the benefits of any regular exercise routine.
- Improved cardiovascular health
- Improved muscle tone and flexibility
- Weight loss (if that is the goal)
- Stronger immune system
- Better sleep
All of these things can arguably be achieved through any regular training regime. However, in my opinion Martial Arts has more to offer.
- Full body training: Martial Arts requires coordinated use of both large and small muscle groups. The true “Full-body” nature of Martial Arts training means that students are burning A LOT of calories each training.
- Improved reflexes and coordination: Specific training of reaction time, speed drills, sparring etc. help students develop faster reflexes and again the “full-body” cooperation needed to execute some techniques helps students develop improved coordination.
- Stress relief: Sometimes nothing relieves stress like hitting something! Martial Arts training gives students the unique opportunity to physically release stress in this way. In adult classes at the Academy, there is always ample opportunity for students to take out stress on our striking targets.
If these physical health benefits aren’t enough reason to give Martial Arts a try, let’s go over some of the mental health benefits of training! Again, any regular physical exercise comes with some mental health benefits such as:
- Improved mood
- Better confidence and higher self-esteem
- Improved self-image
All of these are great benefits, but what ELSE does specifically training Martial Arts bring to the table?
- Structured goal setting: the process of setting and achieving goals is key to healthy self-image and feelings of satisfaction. In Martial Arts the structure revolves around ALWAYS working towards a goal, the next belt, a more difficult board break, mastery of a specific technique. The satisfaction that comes from achieving these goals is a big part of what keeps our adult students engaged and committed to training. We also notice that once our students are used to setting goals in class, that valuable skill transfers to other aspects of life such as career and family life.
- Morals and Values: Martial Arts training is NOT just about physical training. We train a set of Life Skills (such as Honesty, Respect, Belief) that develops character as well. At any age the practice of being reminded of the skills that make us good people is necessary. When we can reconcile our values and feel confident in our character and we spend time with others who have the same values and character it is a powerful tool for our well-being.
- Improved confidence: I know we listed this one already, but in my opinion Martial Arts training gives a student a special kind of confidence. Not only do we train real-world, effective techniques for self-defense, we train a mindset that does not give up, that understands our inherent power and is comfortable and confident in our abilities both in training and in life. This is the POWER of training, it does not just change your body, it changes your mind.
I hope this article has given you some things to think about. Remember that you are NEVER too old to try something new, arguably the best thing you can do for your mental health is to continue to challenge yourself to learn and improve your skills. I invite you to come and try a class at the Academy and see for yourself all the benefits that Martial Arts training has to offer! Remember your first class is always free!