It is more common to see crowds of families gathered around the window or studio of a martial arts dojo. Many families enroll their children in karate and other mixed martial art programs to keep them busy, active and focused. However, most senior adults do not know how many incredible benefits there are for those of us, well and truly over fifty. Is it not true we also need to stay active, busy, and improve our focus? Seniors are beginning to seek out local martial arts dojos that offer seniors and adults martial arts programs. Established and reputable studios have a welcoming and friendly environment that can make a beginner, or a seasoned martial arts master feel at home. There are several ways martial arts can slow aging.
Martial Arts Build Muscle and Keep Joint Loose
The smooth movements of martial arts can significantly slow down the effects of aging because of strengthened muscles, increased muscle tone, and keeping those tight joints looser. Most people choosing to start martial arts training in the later seasons of life are not looking to win tournaments, but the sky is the limit because it is in an individual sport where each person sets their own goals and puts in the effort to achieve them. There is no shame when you do not meet your goals simultaneously as another, and there is no judgment – only celebration of each person\’s accomplishments. The best martial art studios foster a healthy and supportive studio atmosphere that embraces each student\’s individuality. Experienced instructors understand some of the physical limitations seniors may be facing and can help overcome some of them in gradual and healthy ways.
Seniors Experience Reduced Stress and Improved Mood
Many seniors experience isolation or depression, especially if they retire. Having extra time on your hands can add stress. Having unoccupied time can take some adjusting. Participating in a regular exercise routine provides a new purpose and helps keep a schedule that allows for practicing between classes. Even though martial arts training is individual, those involved form relationships often, and a sense of accountability exists that encourages everyone to come back each week. Each person should be confident they are missed when they can\’t be at the studio for training in an excellent studio.
Increased confidence along with staying active naturally improves overall mood. Lower stress and an outlet for physical exercise are two well-known ways to increase the brain chemicals that regulate moods.
Balance and Coordination are Key Elements
Anyone who has passed the half-century mark in years has, at one time or another, experienced a moment when loss of balance scared them or landed them on the floor – hopefully not incurring an injury. When this happens, we must face the reality that we are getting older. The truth is that as we age, coordination and balance are compromised. It is also true that if we do nothing to improve these things and sit around and let it happen, things will not get better! It is truer when you are inactive that these two essential elements of walking and getting around deteriorate more rapidly.
Do martial arts improve balance and coordination? Absolutely! Does it completely recover any that has been lost? Probably not, but it has repeatedly been shown to slow the aging process and improve critical things that allow us to keep our independence. Improved balance and coordination can ease symptoms of osteoporosis which allows more movement and mobility so we can age gracefully.
Open Handed Martial Arts
Kung Fu is the most open-handed style of martial arts. It is highly recommended for those with arthritis who prefer this to a striking fist approach. Luckily, this style is often incorporated into a comprehensive program designed for adults. Jiu-Jitsu is another martial arts style that will increase flexibility and strength due to its design to help the weaker defend against the stronger. Tai Chi is also popular among seniors. Although Tai Chi is not a self-defense art, it does offer immense health benefits.
Every adult must choose to stay active, connect with other like-minded people, and keep their minds sharp. Martial arts training offers a way to do all three in one opportunity. It is critical to find a studio that matches what you are looking for. Often, this can be determined by checking out testimonials of a local studio. Another way is to observe a class or attend a complimentary one when offered. The most reputable studios, such as SwiftKick Martial Arts, will be happy to have you watch or participate before enrolling.
Do not wait to decide to do what you can to stay mentally and physically fit during your adult and senior life. Take back control of your mind, body, and health. Martial arts offer undeniable benefits to students of all ages and are not limited by age.