Martial Arts for Young Professionals: Is It For You?

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If you're one of the young professionals looking for something new to try for your health and wellness, here's something to try: Martial Arts. 

Martial arts' multifaceted approach to fitness provides a comprehensive full body and mind exercise to keep you in shape and your energy up. Whether your reason for exploring the fitness world is for cardio, weight loss, strength training, flexibility, or all of the above, each of the dozens of combative forms are an excellent choice if you're looking to take their fitness more seriously and in a way that is bold, exciting and different.

Martial arts gyms tend to have classes that coincide with the workday, so they would be fairly easy and convenient to fit into your schedule. Also, due to the high intensity of many martial arts classes, especially MMA, your entire session would likely be approximately an hour.

Which martial art is right for you

When choosing a specific martial art form to focus on, it is important to consider what you are looking to get from classe: 

  • Are you looking for a form more focused on cardio? 
  • Perhaps one that is practical for self-defense?

If you are looking for a full-body regiment, Mixed Martial Arts would be an excellent choice. Many MMA gyms provide a mix of boxing, Muay Thai, and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Any combination of the three, or even just one, would give you an amazing weekly exercise routine to meet almost any exercise goal.

Due to the format of many classes, you = will commonly alternate between basic warmups, such as pushups and runnings laps, and high-intensity combinations. 

Fun fact: In just one hour of boxing you can burn up to 800 calories! If that same hour were spent on the treadmill you would have burnt nearly half that amount, with almost no upper body exercise or skills learned.

To those looking for a more traditionalist start in martial arts, all the benefits mentioned above still apply. Karate, Taekwondo, and Kung Fu dojos are available in almost all major cities. These forms will keep you active and offer a look into the ancient philosophies that are deeply embedded in their long histories.

For self defense

While Martial Arts can be used for self-defense, for those interested in styles that include more practical direction into staying safe in a dangerous scenario, Krav Maga is the obvious choice.

Created by the Israeli Army, Krav Maga has an aggressive ethos to end any altercation before it has begun. As it is a relatively young martial art form, Krav Maga leans on many of the key concepts of Jiu-Jitsu, Boxing, Karate, Wrestling, and Judo.

Not only will Krav Maga keep you in shape, but it will also provide practical real-world skills to help protect yourself and others. Krav Maga teaches simultaneous offense and defense, speed, and optimizing one's strengths.

This is especially recommended for women who are looking to take self-defense seriously, as Krav Maga is geared towards taking down larger opponents by using focused and fast strikes. In fact, thousands of women in the IDF's combat units are trained in Krav Maga every year to allow them to participate in missions originally thought to be for men.

Why choose martial arts over conventional fitness routines?

While the 'conventional' gym methods are all effective and work wonders in getting you to your dream body, martial arts as a fitness practice has many unique advantages.

  1. The regiment for martial arts is organically balanced. This means that by focusing on a fighting style, you would actually work all the major muscle groups. In place of weights, you would be working with your own weight and the weight of your opponent. 
  2. Martial arts focuses on an aspect of fitness that is too commonly overlooked: flexibility. Though it is more emphasized in kicking and wrestling-type forms, almost all fighting forms consciously or unconsciously help build the user's flexibility, which helps build lean muscles and dexterity. It is important to keep in mind that martial arts both builds strength and teaches you how to apply it. This keeps you flexible and light, while still allowing you the confidence of knowing you can defend yourself, should you ever need to. 
  3. The cardio involved is already surprisingly similar to HIIT. The exchange of hits and blocks in a martial art class is similar to the high-intensity interval training that is the basis of HIIT. This allows you to simultaneously build your strength and do cardio, instead of choosing between the two.

By combining these exercise techniques, you not only optimize your training time, but you open your already busy schedule for other activities that you enjoy.

This could also be a major advantage for the increasing amount of people who live sedentary lives. After a long day in the office, any mixed martial art class would help stretch and utilize those underused muscles.

 Wrapping things up

Overall, the advantages of martial arts for your health and mind make it a worthy contender if you're looking for alternative fitness ideas. Its full-body approach to fitness for building strength, cardio, and flexibility.

However, perhaps the most compelling reason to give it a try, is that it is just plain fun. Unlike lifting weights and running on treadmills, martial arts requires a balance between mind and body that other forms of exercise might not always require. And it requires you to focus on the task at hand, which can help you develop a stronger sense of mindfulness. Throwing and ducking punches, learning new kicks, or different holds is always more exciting than listening to the same playlist on the elliptical.

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