Protect Your Heart with Martial Arts
Valentine’s Day has just passed, but February is still all about the heart. Every year, the
American Heart Association celebrates Heart Month to raise awareness about heart disease
and heart health.
What you may not know is that martial arts are great for the heart. In fact, the cardiac
benefits of martial arts give a whole new meaning to the idea of cardiovascular fitness.
With that in mind, here are some ways that taking martial arts classes can protect and
strengthen your heart.
Martial Arts Raises the Heart Rate (In a Good Way)
The first way that martial arts can help the heart is by raising your heart rate when you work
out. The heart is a muscle and it needs to be worked. When you take a martial arts class, your
heart rate is elevated.
The benefit of raising the heart rate is that it oxygenates the blood, and helps promote
calorie burning even after you’re done working out. People of all ages need to keep their
hearts pumping, and martial arts is a great way to do it.
Martial Arts Lowers Blood Pressure
Did you know that a high-intensity martial arts workout can help lower your blood pressure?
It’s true. Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a leading contributor to heart disease.
When you work out, your heart becomes stronger – and that means that it can pump blood
more efficiently than it can without exercise. The less effort your heart has to expend on
pumping blood, the lower your blood pressure is.
Martial Arts Lowers Cholesterol
LDL cholesterol – the so-called “bad” cholesterol” – is a contributing factor in heart disease.
Regular participation in martial arts helps you lose weight and that decreases the amount of
LDL cholesterol in your blood.
There’s evidence that working out also shrinks the proteins that carry cholesterol through the
bloodstream, making them less dangerous to the heart.
On a related note, regular vigorous exercise – such as the kind you get in a martial arts
workout – helps to increase HDL or “good” cholesterol.
Martial Arts Reduces Stress
One thing that separates martial arts from many other forms of exercise is that it requires
mental stillness combined with physical exertion.
Mental stillness contributes to mindfulness, a practice that can significantly decrease stress
and anxiety in both children and adults.
Considering that there is a direct link between stress and heart health (stress contributes to
high blood pressure and related issues), the fact that participating in martial arts can reduce
stress is a huge benefit for the heart.
In addition to the benefits already mentioned, martial arts training also helps to improve
discipline, build muscle coordination, and increase self-confidence.
This month, why not give your heart a boost by adding martial arts to your workout routine?
Sifu Caleb Hood is a martial arts instructor at Hood's Martial Arts Academy in Salem, Oregon. He currently offers classes in the Hawaiian-born self-defense system of Kajukenbo Tum Pai, as well as Yang style Tai Chi and cross-trains in Brazilian Jiujitsu (BJJ). He has experience training people from all age groups and ability levels. He is always eager to share the arts he practices with anyone that has a good attitude and a willingness to work hard. In addition to teaching self-defense through martial arts, Sifu Caleb Hood also promotes a healthy lifestyle, emphasizing healthy physical habits, as well as healthy mental habits. To learn more about the classes offered by Sifu Caleb Hood, or about the art of Kajukenbo Tum Pai or Tai Chi, visit the Hood's Martial Arts Academy website here.