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Want to Improve Your Fitness? Consider Martial Arts

Want to Improve Your Fitness? Consider Martial Arts

Being fit can encompass a lot of things. It relates to your physical health in general as well as your capabilities based on diet and exercise. At times, it also relates to your ability to adapt to changing environments. Often, when a person is interested in improving their level of fitness, they want to increase their strength, speed, endurance, and flexibility. And one thing that can help you reach all of those goals is martial arts.

What are Martial Arts?

Martial arts refer to a variety of training systems based on specific combat styles. These forms of combat were originally designed to help ensure one’s safety through the development of skills that helped one defeat or avoid threats. While these skills can still be used for personal protection, they are more often studied to improve one’s level of fitness and athleticism. However, they can also be studied as part of one’s profession.

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For example, professional boxers and MMA fighters can make substantial sums by being successful in their sport. Additionally, some combat-based tournaments also provide cash prizes to the winners.

It is important to note that it is not a requirement to pursue a martial arts professional career or to even compete at all if someone does not want to do so. Martial arts can be enjoyed purely for their physical and mental benefits as well. Often, it is not possible to learn these skills without making physical contact with other students or instructors, but you can choose to only work out with other members of your specific school or gym.

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Martial Arts and Fitness

Practicing martial arts has numerous positive effects on the body. Due to the aerobic nature of the activities, most martial arts students and practitioners see improved cardiovascular health. This can lower the risk of heart disease, hypertension, and stroke.

Martial arts can also help some individuals lower their body fat percentage while increasing overall muscle tone. Practicing martial arts techniques and skills burns more calories than when a body is at rest. That means a person who was previously sedentary and overweight that chooses to study martial arts has a significant chance of losing weight as long as they don’t change their (healthy) diet.

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Additionally, martial arts can increase the overall level of muscle mass a person carries. Many of the moves require a notable amount of muscle to complete correctly, especially when practiced repeatedly. As muscles are used more often and are required to meet higher demands, the body generally responds by building more effective muscles. This can lead to increased tone, muscle size, or both. And, by using the same muscles repeatedly, the level of endurance can also be improved.

Most martial arts also place emphasis on improving flexibility. This helps individuals move more comfortably and extend the outward limits of their muscle movement. Stretching is a regular part of a martial arts workout, and certain techniques also improve flexibility over time.

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Low Upfront Investment

A benefit of many martial arts programs is the limited upfront investment required. If you attend a martial arts school or class, you may need to purchase an appropriate uniform. This is common for martial arts like karate, aikido, BJJ, and other formal martial arts. However, those practicing MMA may only need to buy appropriate workout clothes and a set of MMA gloves to get started.

Otherwise, only the costs of classes or gym access are generally required of participants. This can make martial arts a cost-effective option for people who prefer to work out with others but don’t want to make the financial investment that can be associated with certain team sports.

Over time, most martial arts practitioners see notable improvements in their level of fitness, especially when their previous lifestyle wasn’t very active. If you find yourself interested in a local class, consider giving it a try. It might just be the way to meet all of your physical fitness goals for this year, and every year after.

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Last Updated on May 15, 2019

How to Tap Into the Power of Positivity

How to Tap Into the Power of Positivity

As it appears, the human mind is not capable of not thinking, at least on the subconscious level. Our mind is always occupied by thoughts, whether we want to or not, and they influence our every action.

“Happiness cannot come from without, it comes from within.” – Helen Keller

When we are still children, our thoughts seem to be purely positive. Have you ever been around a 4-year old who doesn’t like a painting he or she drew? I haven’t. Instead, I see glee, exciting and pride in children’s eyes. But as the years go by, we clutter our mind with doubts, fears and self-deprecating thoughts.

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Just imagine then how much we limit ourselves in every aspect of our lives if we give negative thoughts too much power! We’ll never go after that job we’ve always wanted because our nay-saying thoughts make us doubt our abilities. We’ll never ask that person we like out on a date because we always think we’re not good enough.

We’ll never risk quitting our job in order to pursue the life and the work of our dreams because we can’t get over our mental barrier that insists we’re too weak, too unimportant and too dumb. We’ll never lose those pounds that risk our health because we believe we’re not capable of pushing our limits. We’ll never be able to fully see our inner potential because we simply don’t dare to question the voices in our head.

But enough is enough! It’s time to stop these limiting beliefs and come to a place of sanity, love and excitement about life, work and ourselves.

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So…how exactly are we to achieve that?

It’s not as hard as it may seem; you just have to practice, practice, practice. Here are a few ideas on how you can get started.

1. Learn to substitute every negative thought with a positive one.

Every time a negative thought crawls into your mind, replace it with a positive thought. It’s just like someone writes a phrase you don’t like on a blackboard and then you get up, erase it and write something much more to your liking.

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2. See the positive side of every situation, even when you are surrounded by pure negativity.

This one is a bit harder to put into practice, which does not mean it’s impossible.

You can find positivity in everything by mentally holding on to something positive, whether this be family, friends, your faith, nature, someone’s sparkling eyes or whatever other glimmer of beauty. If you seek it, you will find it.

3. At least once a day, take a moment and think of 5 things you are grateful for.

This will lighten your mood and give you some perspective of what is really important in life and how many blessings surround you already.

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4. Change the mental images you allow to enter your mind.

How you see yourself and your surroundings make a huge difference to your thinking. It is like watching a DVD that saddens and frustrates you, completely pulling you down. Eject that old DVD, throw it away and insert a new, better, more hopeful one instead.

So, instead of dwelling on dark, negative thoughts, consciously build and focus on positive, light and colorful images, thoughts and situations in your mind a few times a day.

If you are persistent and keep on working on yourself, your mind will automatically reject its negative thoughts and welcome the positive ones.

And remember: You are (or will become) what you think you are. This is reason enough to be proactive about whatever is going on in your head.

Featured photo credit: Kyaw Tun via unsplash.com

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