Benefits of Karate for Adults

Martial arts training is the only fitness program that strengthens all aspects of your health and fitness, makes you mentally stronger and teaches you how to protect yourself and your loved ones – and it has been for thousands of years. It is the best-kept secret of total body functional fitness for adults in the world.

Self-defense training is one of the best total body workouts on the planet. Most people start to feel the difference immediately and see physical changes in their bodies within weeks. What most people don’t realize (and can’t see) are the physiological improvements to their internal systems.

Mental Toughness and Focus

Self-defense for adults builds focus. When you challenge yourself to do something you have never done before – and you do it – not only do you feel better about yourself but you develop mental toughness and focus. This mental toughness is a form of courage; it is the ability to recognize and acknowledge the butterflies in your stomach when you are afraid of something, facing a challenge or doubting yourself – but getting yourself to take action anyway. It is knowing you can handle anything that comes your way, no matter what.

When you are taking your martial arts class, your mind has to be one hundred percent focused on the task at hand. Because of the physical and mental demands of this kind of training it is almost impossible to think about work, family or anything else. The more you train the stronger your mental focus becomes, making it easier for you to get things done at work and at home.

Increase Range of Motion and Flexibility

There is a saying in the martial arts about flexibility; “A tree that is unbending is easily broken.” As we get older, we begin to naturally lose flexibility. If we exercise over the years without working on flexibility our muscles, tendons and ligaments shorten, causing tightness throughout the body. This can lead to problems with balance, range of motion in our joints, pain, lack of mobility and injuries.

Unlike other fitness programs, martial arts develops your flexibility as you are training, instead of having separate movements specifically designed to increase your range of motion. Because self-defense training teaches you how to protect yourself in various situations using your entire body, your body learns to perform in all directions, on all planes of movement and through full ranges of motion. The more you train, the more fluid and smooth your movements become, like an animal in the wild. Strong, but relaxed and explosive.

Improve Balance

Improving your balance happens when you practice going through the full planes of movement – forward, back, side-to-side and rotational. If you don’t practice working on your balance, it will deteriorate. As we age, becoming unsteady on our feet can lead to falls and serious injury – even death. Like we mentioned earlier in the section on flexibility, martial arts training constantly takes you through these planes as a byproduct of performing the techniques. More than one martial artist can tell you how training helped them prevent getting injured when they tripped or stumbled over something and was able to regain balance quickly before falling.

Another skill you learn is how to fall properly in the event you trip, are thrown or tackled. Learning how to fall correctly can be a life-saver and be the difference between simply getting up off the ground and suffering a serious injury.

Develop Strong Muscle Tone

When training, everything you do revolves around you using every ounce of your body weight to move and perform your techniques. This type of total body training is very similar to bodyweight calisthenics, which have been used for centuries by the military and athletes to get in supreme condition. Physical training that builds giant muscles that cramp up when you attempt to run across the parking lot doesn’t do you much good – although you may look great. Karate training builds lean, functional muscle that is the perfect combination of strength, speed, size and endurance.

Burn Body Fat

Getting rid of stubborn body fat is one of the biggest surprises people get when studying the martial arts. While the focus of training is NOT looking good in your skinny jeans or getting into those clothes that you used to wear when you were twenty pounds lighter, students discover that after a month or two of training, their bodies are changing.

According to medical studies published in the Journal of Obesity, the type of exercise done while training in the martial arts burns 36% more body fat then regular aerobic exercise. This training is the most effective method of burning subcutaneous fat (the cottage-cheese fat directly under your skin, like on your love handles, thigh or buttocks). It also stimulates the release of growth hormone, which helps to continue fat burning even after your training session.

Increase Metabolism

Another hidden benefit of martial arts training is the increase in your metabolism. When you are increasing your lean muscle mass, burning fat and building your endurance, you naturally rev up your metabolism. Students often report that they can eat as much or more than they used to eat in the past and still lose fat because their metabolisms are burning calories as fast as they consume them.

Lower Cholesterol

Karate classes help lower your cholesterol in a couple ways. First, losing weight helps lower your LDL cholesterol levels by stimulating enzymes that move the LDL from your blood to your liver, where it is processed and removed from your system. Next, exercise increases the size of the protein particles that carry cholesterol in your blood, referred to as “lipoproteins”. The smaller lipoproteins are the ones that are bad for you as they can get lodged in the nooks and crannies of your cardiovascular system. Strenuous exercise helps increase the size profile of your blood lipids to the larger, healthier size.

Lower Blood Pressure

Along with lowering your cholesterol, self-defense training helps lower your blood pressure, too.

Your heart is a muscle and just like every other muscle in your body, the more you exercise it the stronger it becomes. The stronger your heart the more blood it can pump with less effort and less effort equals a lower blood pressure.

For people who already have healthy blood pressure levels, karate lessons can help maintain your blood pressure levels as you age by keeping your weight in check and keeping your heart in tip-top shape.

Regulate Glucose and Insulin Levels

Diabetes and other diseases are linked to levels of glucose, insulin and systemic inflammation.

Insulin is a hormone that acts like a “key” to unlock your cells and allow glucose (blood sugar) into your cells to be used for energy. Your body breaks down everything you eat and drink into glucose, then releases it into your system where it floats around, looking for cells that need energy. Insulin is created in your pancreas; when glucose is created by your system, your body tells your pancreas to secrete the correct amount of insulin to go with the glucose created.

Problems start when your body either makes too much or not enough insulin to process your blood glucose. If left untreated, this can lead to type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Strenuous physical exercise helps insulin transport the blood glucose into your cells, regulating your insulin and blood sugar levels.

Reduce Systemic Inflammation

Systemic inflammation has been linked to heart disease, cancer, diabetes, dementia and other age-related chronic conditions. Regular physical training releases anti-inflammatory substances that are naturally created by the body. Excess insulin and blood glucose is also inflammatory to the system, so the more you exercise and regulate your insulin and blood sugar levels, the lower your overall systemic inflammation.

Improve Heart Health

When taught properly, self-defense instruction is physically challenging. The way you move when learning or practicing martial arts varies from style to style, but generally the type of exercise is almost identical to interval training. These short, intense bursts of movement and exertion, followed by periods of lower intensity performance are medically proven to be one of the fastest and most effective ways to increase your heart health.

Boost Endurance

We mentioned earlier that self-defense training is intense, very similar to interval training. One of the things that is unique to martial arts is that you get this sort of intense, interval-like training – for thirty to sixty minutes per session. This supercharges your fitness levels as not only to do you condition your short-term performance levels, but you greatly increase your endurance, too. Your body has to adapt to short, intense periods of exercise with brief periods of lower intensity, but done over a long period of time.

With your increased endurance comes the ability to stay focused longer, have steady energy throughout your day and no more of those afternoon energy crashes or feelings of exhaustion at the end of a busy day.

Schedule your free trial Introductory Private Session today to learn more about how Z-Ultimate’s personalized instruction methodology can help you achieve these benefits and much more!

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“When I decided to take up martial arts, I was looking for a fun way for Jason and I to be active together. Not only did I love it, but it began to change me. To understand just how, you need to know a little about my past.

I come from a very abusive childhood. I have gone through every kind of abuse you can imagine. I know what it is like to be kept home from school for fear the bruises would be seen. I have experienced and witnessed situations no child should ever be exposed to. My parents married at fourteen and sixteen and divorced when I was two. They both remarried right away. I was caught up in the middle, abuse coming from both sides.

As a teenager, I attempted suicide several times to the point of hospitalization.  I was isolated in school, banished from normal classes. My stepmom died of cancer when I was fifteen. My Dad went crazy without her. I had to fend for myself and eventually dropped out of school. The abuse continued, bloody noses the norm. Thankfully, I met Jason. He rescued me from all that hell. We married when I was seventeen and moved out of state.

It has been a long ten years just trying to find out who I am.  For the last few years I immersed myself in church. I know where I stand with my beliefs, but this particular church was very extreme. There was tremendous pressure to live by their standards. I got rid of all my music, wore only skirts and dresses, stopped going to movies, etc. They had me to the point where I thought my main purpose in life was to stay at home raising lots of kids. I felt so numb after a while. I felt like such a hypocrite. My depression grew worse every day. I knew something had to change.

That is when I considered martial arts. When I started taking classes, I just felt so free. It is a feeling that I could never explain. As I continued, I really felt as though I was “myself”. Before, I was extremely shy. I never would have been able to talk in front of a group and definitely would not have been able to let people touch me! I was a different person. Karate has completely transformed me. It has given me so much confidence and self esteem. My past still does come out … but week by week, it is still improving me in many ways.  The transformation has been so dramatic that my co-workers thought someone had replaced my position! I just can’t say enough about this school. I love being here and I feel very comfortable with you as my teacher.

My love for karate has me wanting to learn all I can. Right now I don’t feel I’m anywhere close to being good at karate. That’s an understatement! But I do know that I can do anything if I put my mind to it! I’m so excited to continue this journey!!!” - Jessie K