Posts Tagged ‘health’

fitness tips or fitness myths

Fitness Tips Or Fitness Myths?

There’s no shortage of fitness tips out there. Don’t believe me? Just scroll through social media. It’s common for well-meaning people to innocently spread misinformation when it comes to fitness. While it may seem harmless, buying in to false fitness tips can lead to physical burnout or even injury. So, how do we avoid falling for fitness myths?

We’re debunking three of the most popular fitness myths to keep you focused and well-informed as you work towards your fitness goals.

1. “No pain, no gain”

When it comes to fitness, ever hear the phrase “no pain, no gain”?  This phrase is commonly used to push an athlete harder during their workout. Don’t get us wrong, challenging yourself occasionally is a great thing! But, doing it too often can lead to potential soft-tissue injuries and even set you back when it comes to making progress towards your fitness goals. In fact, training too hard can make it more difficult for your muscles to recover properly. It can also effect your mood, your sleep cycle, and even hinder your immune system. The best approach is to slowly increase the intensity of your training, rather than over-doing it all at once.

2. “Fasting before your workout helps you loose weight faster”

The idea of doing fasted cardio, or exercising on an empty stomach, is that you’ll burn more fat because your body is using stored fat as energy instead of glucose.

While you may initially burn more calories by doing fasted cardio, at the end of the day, it doesn’t make a huge difference. This is because weight loss really comes down to your total daily caloric intake. If your goal is to lose weight, being in a caloric deficit is far more important than whether you exercise fasted or not. In fact, research has shown that there is no significant difference in weight loss between those who fasted before their cardio workout and those who did not.

The best bet is to listen to your body. If you discover you feel better when you exercise on an empty stomach and are in good health, there’s nothing wrong with doing fasted cardio. However, you may find that fueling up before some types of training, like strength training, is a better option to prevent you from experiencing fatigue during your workout. Always check with your primary care physician first, especially if you’re pregnant, have diabetes, high blood pressure, or other underlying medical issues.

3.” If you’re sore, then you had a good workout”

A common misconception is that being sore after a workout means you had a good training session. Typically, when we experience muscle soreness, it’s because we’ve tried a new exercise or pushed ourselves harder than normal during a workout. This type of soreness is called delayed onset muscle soreness or DOMS. DOMS leaves our muscles inflamed, tender, and tight. This discomfort typically lasts 24 to 48 hours after your workout. While DOMS can generally resolve on its own, using a foam roller can aid in faster recovery.

So, what’s the best way to gauge if you had a good workout? Experts agree that evaluating your performance during your workout sessions is a much better indicator. So, if you’re able to lift more or do more reps during your next workout session, you’re on the right track. Even better, as you adapt to a workout routine, the soreness you experience will lessen which will keep you on track with your training and progress.

Ready to bust the fitness myths and start training smarter? At Invictus, we help you do just that! And it’s easy to GET STARTED.

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feel stronger through stretching

Stretch Yourself Strong

A common desire for most martial artists is to increase their strength and performance. Many martial artists incorporate strength and conditioning exercises in their training sessions. But did you know that you can feel stronger through stretching? It’s true! You can actually stretch yourself strong.

You’ve undoubtedly heard how important it is to stretch. When we stretch consistently, we maintain our mobility and overall strength. Here are a few ways stretching makes us stronger:

  • Joints: stronger joints yield improved range of motion
  • Ligaments: stronger ligaments increase stability
  • Muscles: stronger muscles help us with better balance
  • Body: stronger bodies help lower our risk of injury

There are three basic ways to feel stronger through stretching: dynamic, static, and assisted stretching.

Dynamic Stretching

Dynamic stretching uses controlled movements that prepare your muscles, ligaments and other soft tissues for performance and injury prevention. This type of stretching improves speed, agility, and acceleration of movement. As such, dynamic stretches are ideal for pre-workout warm-up. Examples of dynamic stretches include arm circles to help with shoulder mobility and straight leg swings to help with hamstring muscles.

Static Stretching

One of the most popular and familiar types of stretching, static stretching involves stretching a muscle as far as it can go without feeling pain and hold it for 20 to 45 seconds. This type of stretching is great for increasing flexibility. As such, static stretches are ideal for cooling down after a training session. An example of static stretching includes reaching to touch your toes from a standing of seated position.

Assisted Stretching

Also called partner stretching, assisted stretching allows your body to move in ways that it is not able to when stretching alone. This type of stretching can help reduce muscle tightness, increase flexibility, and improve our range of motion. While you can achieve some of these benefits with the help of a trusted friend or exercise partner, it is recommended to seek the help of a trained professional for maximum results.

So, how does any of this improve our performance and make us stronger martial artists? For one, as your flexibility improves, you lower your risk of injury. Additionally, the more flexible you become, the better you will move. Your muscles will work together more efficiently and your techniques will become more effective.

Ready to start experiencing the benefits of incorporating more stretching into your martial artists training? At Invictus, we help you do just that! And it’s easy to GET STARTED.

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Get Moving With Martial Arts

Get Moving With Martial Arts

According to the CDC, a staggering 25% of U.S. adults are considered physically inactive. The health repercussions of not getting enough physical activity can be severe: obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and even cancer. Of course, the benefits of physical activity are numerous including a decreased risk of chronic disease, improved mental health, and better sleep to name a few. Bottom line, as adults, we need to get moving.

There are several reasons adults don’t exercise. The most cited reason is a lack of time. Also noted are a lack of support or lack of desirable options. Let’s face it, the idea of spending half an hour on a treadmill isn’t exactly inspirational.

So, what can adults do to get moving that’s fast, effective, and includes a positive and supportive community?

Martial arts training is an ideal solution. Surprisingly, only 5% of adults have ever trained in a martial arts discipline. With so many benefits, we want to do our part to share our passion for mixed martial arts training and grow that number.

There are a variety of physical, social, and emotional benefits to training in martial arts. Need to loose weight? Want to feel stronger? Could you use a confidence boost? Is a lack of accountability crippling your progress? Regardless of what your fitness goals are, you can completely transform your life with martial arts training. We’ll show you how!

Get Moving With Martial Arts

 

Ready to become part of the 5% of adults that consider themselves martial artists? It’s time to get moving and start getting the results you deserve. At Invictus, we help you do just that! And it’s easy to GET STARTED.

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Make Any Workout More Effective

Make Your Workouts More Effective

We’ve all been there. We start out with the best intensions, come up with a goal, and a plan, and commit to getting in better shape. But then something happens. We get injured. We don’t see the results we expected. We get discouraged. Sometimes, we even quit.

So, how do you make sure to stay on track with your fitness goals?

We’ve come up with some simple tips to make your workout more effective, maximize your results, and minimize your chances of injury.

Always make sure you warm up first. According to Mayo Clinic, a warm-up should last around 5 minutes. Warming up helps prepare your body for aerobic activity and lowers your risk of injury.

Fueling your body before a workout is just as important. Protein is one of the most important nutrients. The recommended dietary allowance is 56 grams per day for men and 46 grams per day for women. While this may sound like a lot, and you may not be a fan of protein shakes or bars, there are several foods that are excellent sources of protein.

Some examples include:

  • 1/2 salmon fillet – 30g
  • half a chicken breast – 26g
  • 3 ounces of lean beef – 25g
  • 7 ounces of greek yogurt – 20g
  • 2 eggs – 12g
  • 2 ounces of almonds – 12g
  • 1/2 cup of lentils – 9g
  • 1 cup quinoa – 8g

Above all, always listen to your body while exercising. Pace yourself and be patient. You will continue to get stronger and more resilient over time. Prioritize cooling down after you workout. A cool down activity can take as little as 5 to 10 minutes. Walking, yoga, or static stretching are great options. This will speed up your muscle recovery and reduce soreness.

Check out the graphic below for more great tips.

Make Your Workout More Effective

Ready to put these tips into practice and start getting the results you deserve? At Invictus, we help you do just that! And it’s easy to GET STARTED.

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More veggies, less drama

Get Your Kids To Eat More Veggies

Parents, we’ve all been there. Despite our best efforts to encourage healthy eating, we still struggle to ensure our kids are getting enough vegetables in their diet. Most parents understand the importance of providing a wide variety of vegetables for their kids to enjoy; however, getting them to actually eat those vegetables is typically easier said than done.

According to the CDC, 90% of children (ages 2-18 years) aren’t eating enough vegetables. In fact, only 2% of teens are getting their recommended servings of daily veggies.

So, what’s a parent to do? When it feels like you’ve tried everything and the temptation to give up is stronger than the desire to stick it out, give these mealtime hacks a try instead:

Lead By Example

That’s right. As parents, we can’t just talk the talk, we have to walk the walk, too. We can offer our kids nutritious meals and encourage them to eat more veggies all we want, but if our behavior doesn’t match what we’re asking of them, they will notice.

In fact, a recent study out of the University of Michigan proved that it’s less about mealtime conversation and verbal encouragement and more about exhibiting the desired mealtime behavior. So, do the work, and lead by example.

Get Them Involved

Involving kids in meal-time decisions can help give them a sense of control. Meal planning and grocery shopping are great activities to invite your kids to participate in. This is also a great way to discover which vegetables they like best and even encourage trying something new. When it comes to meal prep, letting them pick how they want their vegetables prepared (raw or cooked) is also a simple way to get them involved.

Another great idea is planting a small vegetable garden. When kids are involved in where their vegetables come from, they’re more likely to be open to trying them.

Repeated Exposure

A recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests the getting kids to eat their veggies mostly comes down to repetition. This means that the more you expose your child to vegetables, the more likely they will eat them.

Be consistent. Offer at least a small serving of veggies at every meal. Even if they only take a few bites, that’s more than they would have eaten otherwise and they’ll be more likely to try again at their next meal.

It’s All About The Pairing

Let’s face it, if kids have the option of eating pizza or broccoli, they’re probably going to eat the pizza first. And once they fill up on their favorite foods, they won’t be hungry enough to eat their veggies.

Consider pairing the veggies with a less desirable main dish that the kids still enjoy but isn’t quite as popular. Get creative! veggies don’t just have to be a side to the main course. If pizza is the go-to dinner of choice, why not add some veggie toppings? Another great strategy is offering veggies before dinner is ready. When kids are hungry, they’ll eat more, even if that means eating foods they normally wouldn’t.

 

Ready to get your kids active and do something good for their health? Try a martial arts training session at Invictus!  Which class below are you most curious about?

Preschool ages 3-5 (CLICK HERE)

Kids ages 6-12 (CLICK HERE)

Adults ages 13+ (CLICK HERE)

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Simple Tips To Encourage Healthy Eating

Simple Tips To Encourage Healthy Eating

November is Good Nutrition Month so we’re taking a look at some simple tips to encourage healthy eating. With the holidays quickly approaching it’s easy to feel overwhelmed when it comes to making smart nutrition choices.

Fortunately, establishing and practicing healthy eating habits now can pay off big in the long run and make navigating the food offerings at all those holiday parties less stressful.

There’s really no reason to wait until the new year to resolve to make your nutrition a top priority. As they say, the best time to start may have been yesterday, but the second best time to start is right now.

Here are our five simple tips to help you start eating healthier today:

1. It all starts at home

Create a home environment that makes it easier to make healthy food choices. That’s right, it all starts with cleaning out your pantry. To help you decide which foods can stay and which need to go, read the nutrition labels. Ingredients are listed in order of decreasing volume. So, if you see fat, sugar, or salt listed as one of the first ingredients, that’s not your healthiest option. Don’t get distracted by labels like “low-fat” or “light”. Despite being lower in fat, many times these foods are loaded with excess sugar or sodium. The good news is that anything you decided doesn’t belong in your pantry can easily be donated to a local food bank. Win-win.

Once your pantry (and fridge) are purged of the less than nutritious food choices, make sure you restock with plenty of healthy foods like fruits, nuts, vegetables, and good fats.

2. Meal plan for success

Believe it or not, according to a recent consumer survey, 53% of dinners are planned within an hour of eating them. Without a plan, you’re far more likely to end up in a drive-thru late at night eating foods high in trans fat. Planning ahead makes it easier to be healthy, especially on busy days. Start by planning your shopping list for the week. Pre-considering the health value of each item you add to your list will help you avoid impulse buys when you’re shopping.

In addition to making healthier food choices, you’ll also save a considerable amount of money. On average, it costs five times more to order a common meal from a restaurant than it does to cook the same meal at home.

3. Practice mindful eating

Mindful eating is a practice that encourages people to develop a deeper connection with food and begin to create lifelong, healthy habits. Connecting with the foods we eat can help us more easily recognize feelings of hunger and fullness and even help us experience better digestion.

To help keep the focus on the food, it is recommended to keep screens off during meal time. Whether it’s a snack or a meal, it’s so much easier to unintentionally over-eat if you’re distracted by your device. This is because when we’re distracted it becomes harder to listen to our body’s signals about food and other needs.

4. Know the difference between a snack and a treat

It’s common that people who are making an effort to make healthy eating choices often get the hang of eating healthier meals but struggle when it comes to how to handle the time between meals. Experts agree that aiming to eat every three hours or so can help us stay on track with our nutrition goals. But what we eat during those intervals is crucial to our success.

Remember, a snack is a small portion of food you eat between meals to satisfy your hunger and fuel your body. Some great choices are carrots, apple slices, or a handful of almonds. Alternatively, a treat is a less nutritious option that does not fuel your body and brain. So, that trip to the vending machine for a soda and a candy bar…you guessed it…that’s more of a treat and less of a snack after all.

5. Stay hydrated

It’s fairly common for people to confuse thirst for hunger. This is because the same part of your brain is responsible for interpreting hunger and thirst signals. So, how can you tell the difference? According to expert dietitians, signs of hunger can include feeling weak, irritable, or moody, or feeling your stomach rumble. Alternatively, signs of thirst may include dry-mouth, a mild headache, or feeling sluggish.

So, next time you think you’re hungry, test it out by drinking a glass of water and waiting 15 minutes. If you feel satisfied, you were probably just thirsty. If your stomach is still grumbling, try eating a nutritious snack.

As with most things in life, accountability is key. Get your family involved or recruit a friend to commit to healthier eating with you. Having a trusted ally can make all the difference when it comes to sticking to your healthy food choices. In no time at all, you’ll be eating better and feeling a whole lot better, too!

 

Ready to get active and do something good for your health? Try a martial arts training session at Invictus!  Which class below are you most curious about?

Preschool ages 3-5 (CLICK HERE)

Kids ages 6-12 (CLICK HERE)

Adults ages 13+ (CLICK HERE)

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How To Fuel Your Body To Maximize Your Fitness Results

Fuel Your Body, Maximize Your Fitness Results

The difference between a good and a bad workout often comes down to how you fuel your body. What you eat and when you eat it determines how hard you can push yourself during a training session. It also impacts how well your muscles recover afterwards.

Many people believe not eating before a workout will help them burn more fat. That’s simply not the case. In fact, not eating before a workout can lead to feeling lethargic or even faint during a workout. The main goal of eating before a workout is to prime our metabolism and replenish the glycogen that supplies our energy needs to our body.

So, how do you fuel your body for a successful workout without limiting your performance? The solution is a simple nutritional recipe for fitness success: drink plenty of water, and eat good carbs and lean protein.

Here are a few tips on how to best fuel your body to maximize your training experience.

Stay Hydrated

We can’t stress this enough: stay hydrated. Drinking water before you begin your workout is crucial. The amount of water your body needs will vary from person to person based on size and muscle mass. Do your own personal research to determine your optimal hydration requirements.  The goal is to be fully hydrated within an hour of starting your workout. This is because the act of drinking water only starts the hydration process and our bodies need time to fully benefit. During a high-intensity workout, aim to drink water every 20-30 minutes to stay hydrated as you exercise. Keep in mind, when you drink water during your workout, you’re not just putting liquid back into your body, you’re also replenishing electrolytes, sodium, and glucose. Even better, drinking water can help regulate your body temperature and even prevent muscle cramps.

 

Eat Regularly Throughout The Day

We get it. Life happens and suddenly we find ourselves skipping meals and making excuses. The benefit of disciplining ourselves to eat at regular intervals throughout the day is that we can better maintain proper blood sugar levels and energy levels as well.  Aim to eat about 300 to 500 calories about two hours before your workout. Remember, your body can only use food it’s already digested. Eating easily digestible food a couple of hours before you exercise will provide your body with the time it needs to properly fuel itself without making you feel too full.

Convinced you just can’t make that happen? Even just eating a 50 to 100 calorie snack consisting of fast-digesting carbs right before your workout can provide a quick burst of energy to fuel your fitness. Some great choices to eat on the go are fruits like oranges, bananas, apples, or raisins.

 

Just Say “No” To Some Foods

When it comes to fueling a great workout, avoid foods high in saturated fats like fried foods or pizza. In general, these kinds of foods take a long time to digest and tend to sit very heavy in your stomach. A small serving of good fats is much more ideal, such as half an avocado or a hand-full of almonds.

Additionally, while foods high in fiber are great for digestive health, consuming large servings of foods high in fiber right before a workout could upset your stomach. Consuming high-fiber foods like broccoli, lentils, or certain cereals before a workout draws blood flow to your digestive system rather than your muscles. This can limit the amount of oxygen, sugar, and amino acids your muscles receive as you exercise.

Lastly, avoid carbonated beverages like soda and seltzer before working out. These drinks can cause gas, bloating, and abdominal pain. They also contain significant amounts of sodium, which can cause dehydration.

 

Fuel Your Recovery

Jump start your recovery process by consuming good food within 30 to 45 minutes after completing your workout. Look for foods consisting of carbohydrates and a moderate amount of protein. Whole grains and lean meats work best for restoring glycogen stores and stimulating muscle protein synthesis. Fruit smoothies or protein shakes are great options if you’re crunched for time.

In general, macronutrients are key for maximizing your body’s recovery after a great workout. Protein helps repair and build muscles. Carbohydrates replenish your body’s glycogen stores. Good fats like avocado, nuts and seeds, eaten in moderation, have also been shown to aid in muscle growth after a workout.

Finally, don’t skip the water. Replenishing lost water and electrolytes will help you maximize the benefits of your workout.

 

Now that you’ve got some great tips for fueling your workout, try a FREE training session at Invictus!  Which class below are you most curious about?

Preschool ages 3-5 (CLICK HERE)

Kids ages 6-12 (CLICK HERE)

Adults ages 13+ (CLICK HERE)

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Martial Arts Is Medicine

Martial Arts Is Medicine

When most people think of martial arts, they tend to think of the benefits of learning self-defense. But did you know, training in the martial arts doesn’t just teach your body how to protect you from violence? Regular participation in martial arts training also teaches your body to protect you from common medical conditions as well.

Martial arts is medicine, plain and simple.

In fact, the fitness industry as a whole plays an important role in the Healthcare Continuum: preventive healthcare. Experts agree that regular physical activity is vital for the prevention of several chronic diseases. Of course, you should always check with your primary care physician before starting any new exercise program. Here’s a list of some of the most common medical problems and how martial arts can help prevent them:

Allergies

Participating in regular aerobic exercise, like kickboxing, is one of the body’s most efficient ways to control nasal congestion associated with allergies. This is in part due to the dilation of blood vessels which increases blood flow and improves the body’s ability to extract oxygen from the bloodstream. Physical activity results in increased blood flow which allows allergens to be moved quickly through the body and eliminated by the kidneys and skin.

Another benefit of  martial arts training is focusing on controlled breathing. Breathing exercises can help build stronger lungs that can help protect against severe allergy symptoms.

Arthritis

Individuals with arthritis are often reluctant to exercise because they fear their symptoms and condition will get worse. Fortunately, new research shows, that being active actually improves joint function.

In general, more activity mean less disability.

When you train in the martial arts, performing various punches and kicks forces the skeletal joints to move which induces the production of synovial fluid and helps to distribute it over the cartilage and circulate throughout the joint space. While these things won’t reverse the damage already done by existing arthritis, it can help prevent things from getting worse.

Diabetes

In general, exercise helps lower blood sugar levels, strengthen the skeletal muscles and heart, improve circulation, and reduce stress. In fact, a recent study shows that type 1 diabetic patients who regularly engage in martial arts training can achieve or maintain satisfactory glycemic control without the increased risk of severe hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia.

According to the American Diabetes Association, there are two main ways that exercise lowers blood sugar:

  1. Exercise increases insulin sensitivity which helps your muscles better use available insulin for the uptake of glucose during and after activity.
  2. During exercise, your muscles contract allowing your cells to take up glucose and use it for energy whether there is available insulin or not.

When you make martial arts training, like kickboxing, a regular habit, it can also help lower your A1C levels as well.

Heart Disease

According to the Center for Disease Control, high levels of LDL cholesterol increase your risk for heart disease and stroke. Fortunately, training in the martial arts can help raise HDL (the “good” cholesterol) levels in the blood and lower LDL (the “bad” cholesterol) levels.

In fact, an intense martial arts training session can burn up to 500 calories!

Even better, regular participation in martial arts training results in gaining muscle mass. This helps burn even more calories! As your heart rate increases during your martial arts training, your heart learns how to pump blood throughout your body more efficiently. This results in decreased blood pressure, reducing your risk for hypertension.

Osteoporosis

Exercise promotes bone density, thereby lowering an individual’s risk of experiencing bone fracture. In fact, a recent study shows that adolescents engaging in martial arts training presented higher values of bone mineral density when compared to the control group. This means adolescents that train in martial arts will be less prone to developing osteoporosis later in life.

There is also evidence to support learning how to properly fall during martial arts training can be extremely beneficial for individuals suffering with osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a well-known risk factor for fall-related hip fractures. Learning and practicing simple fall techniques in a safe and controlled environment can help prevent hip fractures in individuals with osteoporosis.

 

Ready to experience these health benefits for yourself? Invest in a personalized approach to your wellness with a FREE training session at Invictus. We have new classes starting and invite you to get real results today. Click below for the class that interests you the most and get started for FREE…

Preschool ages 3-5 (CLICK HERE)

Kids ages 6-12 (CLICK HERE)

Adults ages 13+ (CLICK HERE)

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five secret benefits of martial arts

Five Secret Benefits Of Martial Arts

If you’re like us, you LOVE finding secret benefits to ethically hack more results from your life.

Let’s be real: we all have the same 24-hours in a day. But some people seem to get more from every hour than us. The same is true of martial arts training. Have you ever noticed some people get better results than us at the gym… but we’re doing the same kind of training?

Which makes us wonder: what’s their secret?

Today, we’re going to give you five secret benefits of martial arts that no one else is talking about… but really should be!

1) Better Insulin Sensitivity

Experts agree that exercise helps improve your cells and muscles’ sensitivity to insulin. This is a really good thing! Because that means your body doesn’t need as much insulin to work effectively. And even better, it means less belly fat.

2) Less Stress

Experience shows that working out with martial arts quickly reduces a person’s stress. That’s because exercise like martial arts reduces cortisol (the stress hormone). Why does that matter? Too much cortisol triggers the body to become insulin resistant (that’s bad) and signals the body to store belly fat. Additionally, elevated cortisol stress makes you crave sugar and carbs… a vicious cycle. Break free of the stress-eat cycle with a quick 45-min strength and cardio session at Invictus (BTW, it’s always FREE to try)!

3) Better Brain Health

Our brains perform better in everyday life when we exercise! Martial arts exercise improves memory, enhances learning, and boosts concentration. In fact, vigorous exercise (like a training session at Invictus) is known to even be a great antidepressant working just as effective as common prescription drugs. Exercise helps to improve your mood (we wrote about it HERE), boost your energy, and reduce mental fog and fatigue.

4) Reduced Risk For Chronic Disease

Exercise protects your heart and reduces your risk of heart attack and stroke. In fact, we’ve written extensively about this in previous posts HERE and HERE. Martial arts exercise can reduce inflammation which is the cause of almost every disease associated with aging. Furthermore, it balances hormones that contribute to reducing breast and other common cancers.

5) Enhanced Detoxification

Intense exercise is known to assist your body with releasing toxins through your skin. Now, before you get all grossed out, this is a very common way our bodies naturally detox. Vigorous exercise helps you work up a great sweat (a great detoxifier), but a gentle exercise session will keep your circulation going. This flushes out all the toxic fluids that build up in your lymphatic system.

With benefits like these what’s not to like? Now that you know these five secret benefits of martial arts, perhaps it’s time for you to give it a try for FREE! And best of all you just might like feeling better, feeling stronger, and feeling healthier!

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mental health and martial arts

Improving Mental Health With Martial Arts

May is Mental Health Awareness Month so we’re taking a minute to showcase how martial arts can help. For several years, Mental Health America has acknowledged and advocated for fitness as a tool to help those who live with mental illness find pathways to wellness and ultimately thrive in life.

It is well-known that people who live with mental health issues can benefit from physical exercise like martial arts.

In fact, recent scientific publications in the American Journal Of Men’s Health and BMC Psychology support these claims. Experts agree that training in the martial arts can be a transformative experience offering many benefits to those who live with mental illness including mentorship, a sense of achievement, and increased confidence.

Here are three ways we improve mental health with martial arts…

Manage And Reduce Stress

It is well known that training in martial arts is a great way to get in shape, raise your metabolism, build muscle strength, increases flexibility, and improve immune system responses. But did you know that all of these aspects also play a role in reducing areas of potential stress?

As you train your body to become stronger, physically, you are also training it to better handle future stressors.

Of course, practicing martial arts also naturally releases endorphins, the “feel-good” hormone, into your body. These endorphins can help relieve pain and reduce emotional stress. In fact, the neuron receptors that endorphins bind to are the same ones that bind to some common prescription pain medications. That means you can experience the same relief from martial arts training without the possibility of addiction or dependency. Research out of Harvard Health has also shown that exercise, like martial arts, is an effective but often underutilized all-natural treatment for mild to moderate depression. 

Develop Self-Control

Being able to manage and regulate our emotions is something we practice every day, but for those who live with mental illness, this can be a significant challenge. A common strategy used for regulating emotions is attentional deployment, or redirecting attention. For people who struggle with managing anger or anxiety, martial arts can be a positive channel to redirect their energy. Training in the martial arts can also help redirect feelings of powerlessness and encourage feelings of self-confidence. Specifically, learning self-protection skills helps shift feelings of victimization to feelings of self-control. Sparring under adrenaline stress helps develop skills to manage adrenaline and learn to control fight or flight responses. Ultimately, martial arts training helps people develop improved self-control, form healthier habits, and reduce impulsivity.

Increase Self-Esteem

Because strong social support is important for those with depression, participating in a small group martial arts class may be beneficial. In fact, martial arts group classes can improve self-esteem through consistent positive verbal reinforcement from peers, instructors, and coaches. Additionally, when a person masters a new skill or earns a higher belt rank, their sense of achievement automatically boosts their self-confidence and they learn to feel good about themselves and their accomplishments.

So, when you’re ready to experience how martial arts can transform your life, SCHEDULE YOUR FREE SESSION with us today! We love helping REAL people like you get REAL results for the REAL world.

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