Fitness Isn’t a Chore When It’s FUN! Part 2 of 2
By Shotokan Karate Leadership School in Santa Rosa, CA
Choose physical activities like Martial Arts that allow you to have fun, make friends, and push your own boundaries in a safe place. Actually enjoying the exercise alters our brain chemistry to reduce and resist stress, ultimately leading to mental clarity and better performance at all levels. Playing vigorously has the added benefit of ridding your body of stress-causing hormones such as adrenaline. Activities like the Martial Arts are shown to significantly bolster the brain’s and body’s stress resistance functions.
Strength training, yoga, or any exercise that involves tensing then releasing muscles can act as progressive relaxation. As Dr. Brehm-Curtis explains it, “When you measure muscle electrical activity after weight training, there’s less electrical activity, indicating that the muscles are more relaxed.”
If you are not the type to meditate, try rhythmic, repetitive activities such as certain Martial Arts styles, swimming, rowing, or running, all of which increase alpha brain waves. These are the same waves that produce a meditative calm.
How many of us have said we can’t find time for one 30 or 40 minute exercise session? The American Council on Exercise suggests taking a 10-minute break every 90 minutes to climb stairs or walk around the building. You’ll accumulate 50 minutes of exercise in an eight-hour day and be more productive, because you’re reducing stress and physically moving.
For stress-relieving benefits, try exercising at least 30 minutes most days of the week. If you are new to exercise, begin with just two or three days, then work up to five or more days. If you need help or have questions, ask your Martial Arts instructor. Remember, exercise doesn’t just affect your physical appearance but your mental health too!
Common to most popular Martial Arts styles practiced in the U.S. today are the terrific mental and physical benefits derived from the total body workouts, especially in supportive classes where partner stretches, exercises, drills, and free sparring intensify the experience! Long-lasting fitness doesn’t have to be boring! Martial Arts are anything but routine, and the amazing benefits are available to anyone – at any starting fitness level or age – who is willing first to try then to persevere. Perhaps the secret to the longevity of traditional Martial Arts could be how personally and collectively enjoyable the practice, and how varied and advantageous the rewards. Fitness is not a chore when it’s fun!
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