Stress is something that everyone experiences sometimes. Adults have stress related to their jobs, finances, families, and more. Kids may experience stress related to school, grades, and social situations. While some stress is a normal part of life, there’s no denying that it can have a negative impact on our physical and mental health.
Martial arts training has many benefits, but one that may surprise you is that it can help people to reduce and manage stress. Here’s what you need to know about martial arts and stress relief.
What Impact Does Exercise Have on Stress?
There’s plenty of evidence to support the idea that exercise is beneficial for stress relief. Here are a few of the most important things to know about the effect that exercise in any form can have on your physical and mental health as a result of minimizing stress.
- Exercise releases endorphins. Endorphins are feel-good hormones that send a message of relaxation to your body and mind. They’re the hormones that produce the feeling known as “runner’s high” and they can help your body let go of stress.
- Exercise reduces the physical effects of stress. When your body experiences stress and is flooded by the so-called stress hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol, you may experience physical issues related to your circulation, cardiovascular system, and digestive system. Exercise can relieve stress and at the same time, provide physical relief.
- Exercise is a form of meditation. When your body moves, it can have many of the same benefits as a meditation practice. The repetitive motions of martial arts help people release their stress and worry, and focus only on physical movement.
The physical and mental benefits of exercise are useful for stress reduction and can even reduce high blood pressure and improve focus.
How Does the Practice of Martial Arts Reduce Stress?
Now, let’s review some of the key ways that learning martial arts, whether you choose kung fu, tai chi, or Brazilian jiu jitsu, can help to reduce stress.
#1: It Reduces Pent Up Energy
Martial arts training requires a lot of energy. Many of us have pent up energy from spending our days in an office or classroom. The physical activity of a martial arts class can help to reduce the physical symptoms of stress by releasing energy.
#2: It Reduces Muscle Tension
Reducing stress is easy when you have a way to eliminate muscle tension. In many cases, mental stress can lead to tight muscles. Because martial arts training uses every major muscle group, it’s an effective way to eliminate muscle tension.
#3: It Improves Your Breathing
Controlled breathing is an important element of mastering any martial art. As you learn the power of mindful breathing, you will find that your stress levels decrease naturally as you allow your breathing to become controlled and calm.
#4: It Improves Your Self-Esteem
A lack of confidence can impact your stress levels, leading to a feeling of anxiety. In addition to improving your physical health, martial arts practice provides stress relief in the form of confidence and high self-esteem as you progress through levels and earn new belts and stripes.
#5: It Improves Focus
You might not think that focus has anything to do with stress relief, but it does! A lot of stress and anxiety comes from a lack of focus on the here and now. Martial artists learn to clear their minds and not worry about the future. Improved focus leads to more mindfulness and that can, in turn, improve mental health.
The bottom line is that martial artists experience improvements in their mental health thanks to the stress relief of practicing martial arts. Regular martial arts training, whether you do it for self-defense or to stay in shape, can help you manage your stress and keep its negative effects at bay.