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Friday, February 28, 2020

The Mental and Physical Health Benefits of Martial Arts


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Oluwafemi Michael
Oluwafemi Michael is an online Mental Health Therapist, Advocate for Mental Health Awareness, a programmer, and also a content creator from Edo state, Akoko-Edo LG.

Martial art is for some a form of exercise, but to others, a way of life and an effective workout not only the body but for the mind as well.


With constant practice and mental focus, it is sure to guarantee both physical stamina and mental strength. This old practice is one of the few exercises that strengthen the mind, body, and spirit with the ability of self-defence and disciplined life. There is no doubt the positive benefits of the practice of martial arts are immeasurable.

Martial art is the overall exercise of the different parts of the body while building a connection with the mind with precise coordination between the two through consistent practice. However, to attain maximum forms of mastery of martial arts, one must incorporate the habit of regular exercise to achieve all the benefits fully. Let us discuss the reasons why and how martial art helps to improve one’s physical and mental health.

The physical health benefits of martial art:

Martial Arts

Martial arts isn’t any form of workout that is commonly practised in gyms. However, it can be practised by both the young and the old. In fact, the earlier an individual starts the practice, the better. For you to practice martial art, you have a lot of flexibility and stamina, but it’s the same martial art that helps you develop a stronger level of flexibility and strength.

Constant practice of martial arts has its life-long advantages which include:

  1. Improved body posture
  2. Increased flexibilities
  3. Maximised strength
  4. A heightened sense of alertness and attentiveness
  5. Improved will for endurance
  6. Enhanced muscle strength
  7. Improved cardiovascular fitness
  8. Higher and stronger bone density
  9. Decreases the rate of ageing

Martial art has been known to reduce the risk of osteoporosis; a condition associated with old age and also minimises the chances of having a heart attack. The dynamic movements involved in the workout helps to improve the blood flow, reducing the risk of sickness, and it also helps the body maintain a healthy balance.

The mental health benefits of martial art:

Martial art has been thoroughly proven to improve mental health, and daily practice is recommended as an excellent way to enhance mental illnesses such as insomnia, dementia, depression and bipolar disorders.

It is an excellent avenue to help people express their suppressed emotions, which is why the exercise is considered a form of psychotherapy and people who indulge in the art have been known to have improved the cognitive and behavioural pattern.

Take Jackie Chan for example, ever observed the confidence he tends to exhibit? That confidence is typical among those who practice martial art regularly. It also improves quick decision making.

Other advantages of the practice of martial art on mental health include:

  1. Stress relieving
  2. Improved reflexes
  3. Improved mental concentration
  4. Enhanced sense of awareness
  5. Excellent decision making and an improved sense of responsibility

It is best an individual is introduced to martial art when one is young. Pros of martial arts are noticeable in children who start the practice at early staged.


People with low self-esteem have a higher success rate of improving their self-esteem when they adopt the practice of martial art. Individuals suffering from mental health disorder such as dementia have an advantage if they cultivate the martial art program. One would have to be wholly dedicated to the art to benefit from it entirely.

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