Martial arts training can start in early childhood. In fact, kids as young as two or three years old can benefit from learning the martial arts. But is there ever an age where someone is too old to study the martial arts?
The truth is that people can start martial arts training at any age. There are health benefits, including advantages for both mental and physical health, which make martial arts training beneficial for older people who are looking for a fun way to stay fit.
Can Older People Learn Martial Arts?
Let’s start with the big question. Can older people, including those who are over the age of 65, start learning martial arts?
The answer is yes. Anybody, at any age, can become a martial artist with the proper training. A lot of older people like taking self-defense classes to make them feel strong and confident in any situation.
Older people who learn martial arts reap significant benefits in terms of their physical health, mental health, and even their emotional health. You can start martial arts training at any age, even if you’ve never taken a martial arts class before.
Physical Benefits of Martial Arts for Older People
The physical aspects of martial arts can be challenging but that doesn’t mean that seniors are too old to start martial arts classes. In fact, martial arts training can help older people combat aging, keeping their bodies strong and healthy.
Here are some of the key physical benefits of martial arts for older people.
- Greater muscle mass
- Improved flexibility
- Better balance
- More physical stamina
- Improved cardiovascular fitness
- Better coordination
Whether you study mixed martial arts, Brazilian jiu jitsu, or Muay Thai, you can enjoy the physical benefits of building a strong body.
Mental Benefits of Martial Arts for Seniors
In addition to the physical benefits of martial arts class, you can also reap mental benefits if you start martial arts training as a senior. Here are some of the most important mental health benefits to consider.
- Better memory
- Increased brain capacity
- Mind-body connection
Learning something new encourages the brain to form new neurons and connections and can even add gray matter! You’re never too old to start martial arts training, especially when you know that it’s keeping your brain young and healthy.
Emotional Benefits of Martial Arts for Older People
There are certain aspects of getting older that can make people vulnerable to emotional issues. For example, loneliness can be an issue and so can depression and anxiety. The good news is that seniors who learn martial arts can reap these emotional benefits.
- Decreased risk of depression
- Elevated mood
- Lower risk of anxiety
- Increased socialization & opportunities to meet new people
The reason for most of these benefits is that learning a martial art and taking classes provides a full-body workout that triggers the release of endorphins, mood-elevating hormones that we all have. Endorphins can help to minimize feelings of depression, loneliness, and anxiety. The classes themselves offer an opportunity for socialization and the chance to make new friends.
Is There a Risk of Injury for Seniors Who Learn a Martial Art?
With older people, it’s important to be mindful of the risk for physical injury. As flexibility decreases along with bone mass, the chance of an injury may increase.
That said, martial arts classes for seniors are safe. A skilled instructor in martial arts such as Muay Thai or Mixed Martial Arts will work with each student to ensure that they are learning at a pace that’s both comfortable and safe.
Martial arts training can make injuries less likely by improving muscle tone and building muscle mass while increasing flexibility and improving balance.
Seniors can start training in the martial arts at a beginner level and increase difficulty as they build strength and confidence.