People take up martial arts for all sorts of different reasons, and not always for the sake of self defense. Rather than just being a tool to help you in an extreme situation, martial arts can play a key role in keeping your body fit and healthy, which in the long run is likely to prove to be the best way of defending yourself. Although just a tiny minority of us will be forced to defend ourselves from violence with more than a common sense avoidance of dangerous situations, we all have to defend ourselves against the prospect of aging and declining health. You don’t have to be interested in self defense to benefit from martial arts; you just need to be aware of the importance of health defense.

How Should You Be Defending Your Health?

According to CDC guidelines, adults should aim for a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity and at least two sessions of muscle strengthening activity a week. However, if you are able to work out at greater intensity, you can exchange the 150 minutes with just 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity. Aerobic or cardiovascular exercise helps to get your heart beating faster, but at a moderate intensity, it should not push you so hard that you are unable to carry on a conversation. If you can achieve a vigorous intensity workout, you won’t be able to say much more than a few words. Muscle or strength training exercises tend to be those that require you to do sets of repetitions. They should make use of all your major muscle groups: legs, hips, arms, shoulders, abdomen, back and chest.

If you aren’t used to much physical activity, you should work up to this amount gradually, and you should be careful not to overexert yourself. It is much better to build up your strength and stamina gradually than to try to do too much, too soon. The aim of health defense is to create a healthy lifestyle that you will be able to live in the long term, so you should work towards a fitness regimen that you know you will be able to keep up. Part of this is finding a form of exercise that will keep you motivated and committed to heath defense.

Why Choose Martial Arts?

Participating in martial arts can be beneficial for many different aspects of your health since it is such a varied form of exercise. The range of techniques that are available can be adapted to the needs of many different types of exercisers, from people who are trying to lose weight and improve their fitness, to those who are looking for a way to keep active as they get older. Whatever your existing fitness level and experience, there are two main types of exercise that you need in order to keep your body healthy are cardiovascular exercise and strength training. Many forms of sport and exercise focus mainly on just one of these areas, leaving you to seek the other type of exercise elsewhere, but if you practice martial arts, you will find that it can help to keep your heart healthy while also building up your muscle strength. Martial arts has the added benefit of helping to strengthen your joints and improve your flexibility.

Many people find that when they take up more exercise, the benefits go far beyond their physical wellbeing, for example by improving their mood and quality of sleep. Engaging in martial arts can help to keep your mind active, because it can challenge you to think and react quickly. It can also help to build up your self-confidence, particularly if you have had issues with self-esteem or experiences of violence in the past, which, as this guide from Licensed Prescriptions suggests, often involves a loss of control and agency. Learning how to practice a disciplined art like aikido can help you to take control of your own health and body, helping you to feel more optimistic about your future. The self defense aspect of martial arts can also be important if you need a confidence boost. Even if you are more interested in protecting your health rather than learning to defend yourself, knowing that you have these skills can help you to overcome your fears.

Defending Your Health

The best thing that you can do in order to improve and protect your own health is to incorporate plenty of exercise into your lifestyle. The long-term benefits of exercise include a reduction in the risks of developing many chronic conditions, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer, as well as age-related dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. These benefits demonstrate that the best form of defense is a healthy lifestyle, with plenty of exercise, although health defense is not just about exercise. It is also important to eat a healthy, balanced diet and to take care of your body in other ways too.