Staying active is important to people in their 50’s, 60’s or even 70’s. The body starts to weaken during these years, especially when seniors get trapped into the sedentary lifestyle.
As we age, our bodies become brittle. The importance of daily activity cannot be more emphasized by this fact. It is vital to consider engaging in activities that will keep us as active as our bodies will allow to ensure that we stay healthy and physically fit to avoid any future illness that could prevent us from living a higher quality of life in our later years.
During a time in their lives when they become free from the pressures of the daily grind as they enter the retirement stage, seniors must focus on health now more than ever. Of course, physical limitations and health considerations need to be addressed before engaging in this type of activity. But the beauty of martial arts is that it is for everyone, no matter the age, and can be tailor-made to suit anyone of any fitness level.
Martial arts training is becoming popular with people in this age bracket. Like most people, seniors turn to martial arts for the same reasons such as improved physical fitness and mental alertness. But more than that, martial arts is an activity that seniors choose to undertake to discover how far their physical capabilities can take them while learning something new.
Today, four reasons martial arts is the perfect fitness activity for seniors.
1) Martial arts helps sustain mental health
It is a fact that there is a direct link between keeping active and maintaining mental alertness. For seniors, however, the brain does not function as quickly or as healthily as it did during the younger years. They tend to experience worse reaction time and become less sharp.
The practice of martial arts is an activity that can significantly reduce these effects of aging. Through constant practice of reflexive routines required by training, seniors are able to maintain mental alertness. It is not just a set of techniques learned and practiced in the gym a few times a week, but rather, it becomes a lifestyle that seniors learn to adopt as a way to maintain physical and mental discipline.
The brain is a muscle that needs to be exercised just as much as other muscles within the body. Martial arts allows seniors to not only engage in an activity that stimulates their mental capacities but also strengthens and conditions their physical capabilities as well. It can be anything they choose to make it because it allows them to participate up to their comfort level.
2) Martial arts develops new friendships and builds a community
As people enter the retirement stage, their circle of friends tends to decrease. They no longer need to go to work regularly where they are in constant connection with their workmates and colleagues. Enrolling in martial arts allows them to make and build new friendships with people that share the same interests.
A community of like-minded people determined to stay physically fit and healthy is motivation enough for seniors to pursue this activity that will inspire them to push themselves to their limits. It could come as a surprise for seniors to know that martial arts training gives them a social environment similar to that which can be found in other social activities.
New friendships developed through the regular practice of martial arts inspire and motivate people to stick to their routines. They help each other in times when the will to push through adversity is low.
Being part of a group of people who aim to achieve similar goals in terms of physical and mental fitness is a great advantage when seniors choose to enroll in martial arts. Furthermore, the social engagement enhances the workout and training as opposed to a regular gym membership that requires them to perform exercises on their own.
3) Martial arts keeps your body healthy
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is one of the most popular martial arts courses for seniors due to its aerobic benefits. Grip strength and hip mobility decrease past the age of 50 and BJJ specifically develops these through routines that are advantageous to seniors. This is just one of the benefits of engaging in martial arts for this age group.
Keeping active no matter how you choose to do so ensures that your body stays in tip-top shape but doing it through martial arts makes the activity more interesting and encourages one to remain faithful to their daily routine.
The idea of keeping oneself physically fit through martial arts gives you a sense of accomplishment while placing your bodily functions in check. Burning fat, maintaining healthy cardiovascular health, and improving muscle tone helps you avoid common illnesses that are almost always present as you age, such as arthritis, high blood pressure, diabetes, osteoporosis, and heart disease.
4) Martial arts reverses or slows down aging
Martial arts slows down the aging process and prevents the development of age-related diseases.
As we age, our body experiences major changes in our balance, strength, posture, flexibility, and endurance. The main cause of these is mostly through inactivity.
Balance declines over time as your muscles tighten and become weaker. Your physical strength is also affected and could lead to muscle atrophy. A study conducted on men and women over 90-years old revealed that after six weeks on a specific routine or exercise regimen, the participants achieved an almost 200 percent increase in strength.
Poor posture is one of the major shifts our body experiences over time. Through martial arts training, one is required to execute forms and techniques that guarantee improved posture that could help in the prevention of osteoporosis.
A loss in the body’s collagen structure is a consequence of the aging process. Muscles, joints, tendons, ligaments, and other connective tissue become stiffer and as a result, decreasing the body’s flexibility. Likewise, the difficulty one encounters as they perform even the simplest of physical activities is a sign of reduced endurance that comes with age.
With regular martial arts training, the chance to increase your heart rate and lung capacity leads you to much-improved endurance. Overall, martial arts training can ultimately reverse or slow down the signs of aging, which is something we should all strive for.
When you put in the work towards a long term goal, you pick up life lessons that apply to areas of your life that are unrelated to your pursuit. You are forced to cultivate discipline…