Posted on Leave a comment

Martial arts has been shown to improve a person’s emotional wellbeing

“As well as increasing physical fitness and mental health, martial arts can boost brain cognition too”

This is a fantastic article recently published by Ashleigh Johnstone a PhD researcher in cognitive neuroscience at Bangor University. This article was originally published on The Conversation (theconversation.com). 

We are all aware that exercise generally has many benefits, such as improving physical fitness and strength. But what do we know about the effects of specific types of exercise? Researchers have already shown that jogging can increase life expectancy, for example, while yoga makes us happy.

However, there is one activity that goes beyond enhancing physical and mental health – martial arts can boost your brain’s cognition too.

Researchers say that there are two ways to improve attention, through attention training (AT), and attention state training (AST). AT is based on practising a specific skill and getting better at that skill, but not others – using a brain training video game, for example.

​AST on the other hand is about getting into a specific state of mind that allows a stronger focus. This can be done by using exercise, meditation or yoga, among other things.

It has been suggested that martial arts is a form of AST, and supporting this, recent research has shown a link between practice and improved alertness. Backing this idea up further, another study showed that martial arts practice – specifically karate – is linked with better performance on a divided attention task.

This is an assignment in which the person has to keep two rules in mind and respond to signals based on whether they are auditory or visual.

In a US study, children aged between eight and 11 years old were tasked with traditional martial arts training that focused on respecting other people and defending themselves as part of an anti-bullying programme. The children were also taught how to maintain a level of self-control in heated situations.

The researchers found that the martial arts training reduced the level of aggressive behaviour in boys, and found that they were more likely to step in and help someone who was being bullied than before they took part in the training.

Significant changes were not found in the girls’ behaviour, potentially because they showed much lower levels of physical aggression before the training than the boys did.

Interestingly, this anti-aggression effect is not limited to young children. A different piece of research found reduced physical and verbal aggression, as well as hostility, in adolescents who practised martial arts too.

Some forms of martial arts, such as tai chi, place great emphasis on controlled breathing and meditation. These were strongly linked in one study with reduced feelings of stress, as well as being better able to manage stress when it is present in young to middle-aged adults.

This effect has also been found in older adults – the 330 participants in this research had a mean age of 73 – too. And the softer, flowing movements make it an ideal, low-impact exercise for older people.

As several scientists are now looking into the links between emotional wellbeing and physical health, it’s vital to note that martial arts has been show to improve a person’s emotional wellbeing too.

In the study linked above, 45 older adults (aged 67-93) were asked to take part in karate training, cognitive training, or non-martial arts physical training for three to six months.

The older adults in the karate training showed lower levels of depression after the training period than both other groups, perhaps due to its meditative aspect. It was also reported that these adults showed a greater level of self-esteem after the training too.

After comparing a sedentary control group with a group of people doing karate, Italian researchers found that taking part in karate can improve a person’s working memory. They used a test that involved recalling and repeating a series of numbers, both in the correct order and backwards, which increased in difficulty until the participant was unable to continue.

The karate group were much better at this task than the control group, meaning they could recall longer series of numbers. Another project found similar results while comparing tai chi practice with “Western exercise” – strength, endurance and resistance training.

Evidently, there is far more to martial arts than its traditional roles. Though they have been practised for self-defence and spiritual development for many hundreds of years, only relatively recently have researchers had the methods to assess the true extent of how this practice affects the brain.

-End of article-

CHANGE YOUR MIND, CHANGE YOUR BODY®

The Bushido School of Karate offers karate classes for all ages, including Little Eagles Martial Arts for toddlers.   In addition to in-person training you can learn and benefit from the brain-boosting  techniques by learning online!
For our students, and those looking to learn Beginner Level Bushido Karate, our online tutorials  provide everything you need to be better.  If you prefer basic tutorials for more of a “kickboxing feel” with complete explanations of moves and simple brain-training combinations, check out our Martial Arts Fitness series on YouTube.
Osu, keep on keeping on
Posted on Leave a comment

Fitness: Studies Show You Only Need to Exercise This Many Minutes a Day For Better Health

funny fitness meme

We’re getting ready to film the last 2 episodes of Series 2 in CHANGE YOUR MIND, CHANGE YOUR BODY® Martial Arts Fitness by Bushido Karate. The last 2 episodes will be during a class and will involve all the techniques covered so far. View all episodes in about an hour and you’ll be ready to start kicking!

I thought this article recently published in popsugar.com was a perfect fit for our Martial Arts Fitness video’s. All of our workouts can be done in a half-hour, or you can make them longer! By adding workouts together you can easily get a longer session to burn calories and build muscle.

We’ve been conditioned to think if we can’t get a solid 30-minute workout in a day, it’s a waste of our time, and this is especially true from former athletes who spent hours exercising per day in their youth. What can 15 minutes a day really do? The answer is a lot.

A small study by the Pennington Biomedical Research Center showed that a group of 464 women who walked 72 minutes a week for six months had improved heart health and fitness. Seventy-two minutes in a week is just over 10 minutes in a day — that’s it! The women who were picked for the study were all considered overweight or obese and did not exercise prior to their participation.
In addition to this study’s findings, it’s important to note that just 10-15 minutes of strength training or cardiovascular exercise can burn 100 calories or more depending on intensity. One-hundred extra calories a day is approximately one pound a month, or 12 pounds a year, you’re keeping off your body.

Don’t forget you also burn calories after you’re done working out. We all know you burn calories while you exercise, but you also burn a fair amount of calories recovering from exercise. In fact, your metabolism can be elevated from 24 to 72 hours after a workout. This mostly occurs when you complete interval or high-intensity exercise. The higher your heart rate during exercise (even small bursts of elevated heart rate), the more it helps with the “after burn” of additional calories. By exercising more frequently, you keep your metabolic rate constantly elevated, making it easier to stay in a healthy BMI range.

Another thing to note is frequent short workouts may lessen injury risk. Trained athletes may be able to handle two-hour runs or bike rides, but the average person is going to face extreme muscle soreness and fatigue if they extend their workouts too long. Fatigued muscles are more prone to acute and chronic injuries. Injuries and soreness are listed among the top factors for people who don’t exercise. By building in frequent short workouts, you may lower your injury risk and raise your chances of getting into a consistent workout schedule.

Written by Laura Arndt,  published June 12, 2018 in popsugar.com

Osu, keep moving!

Posted on Leave a comment

Martial Arts Fitness Series 2, Episode 4

This episode of CHANGE YOUR MIND, CHANGE YOUR BODY® Martial Arts Fitness by BUSHIDO KARATE gets us down on the ground for some complementary ab and booty toning.

You already have a 6-pack

Whether you’re in it for over-50 functional maintenance or taking it to a more intense level, your abdominal muscles always need attention. They hold us up, assist in just about every movement and it’s where we see that coveted 6-pack. Did you know you already have a 6-pack? It’s there alright – it’s just hiding. In order to hit those particular muscles (rectus abdominus) you need to get in some specific movements. I cover that in this episode.

An 8-pack is 2 more than a 6-pack

Your “lower ab’s” that add that extra 2 are actually the same as your “upper ab’s”. They are all part of the rectus abdominus.  But your lower abdomen is usually overlooked in fitness and that 8-pack seems so elusive. It’s really not. With some targeting to that area you will develop those lower muscles, too. I show you a certain type of sit-up for that. And OMG – you will feel it.

It’s all about that bass

 

So we like to look just as good going as we do coming. It IS all about that bass! There are tons and tons of ways to sculpt and define that booty. Machines can get you there, but I believe in using your own body to get in the best shape. The exercise I cover in this episode is great because -as you’ll see in an upcoming episode – there are variations. A whole class can be doing basically the same move with varying degrees of difficulty.  Start here, with CHANGE YOUR MIND, CHANGE YOUR BODY Martial Arts Fitness Series 2, Episode 4 by BUSHIDO KARATE.

Posted on Leave a comment

Martial Arts Fitness Series 2, Episode 4

This episode of CHANGE YOUR MIND, CHANGE YOUR BODY® Martial Arts Fitness by BUSHIDO KARATE gets us down on the ground for some complementary ab and booty toning.

You already have a 6-pack

Whether you’re in it for over-50 functional maintenance or taking it to a more intense level, your abdominal muscles always need attention. They hold us up, assist in just about every movement and it’s where we see that coveted 6-pack. Did you know you already have a 6-pack? It’s there alright – it’s just hiding. In order to hit those particular muscles (rectus abdominus) you need to get in some specific movements. I cover that in this episode.

An 8-pack is 2 more than a 6-pack

Your “lower ab’s” that add that extra 2 are actually the same as your “upper ab’s”. They are all part of the rectus abdominus.  But your lower abdomen is usually overlooked in fitness and that 8-pack seems so elusive. It’s really not. With some targeting to that area you will develop those lower muscles, too. I show you a certain type of sit-up for that. And OMG – you will feel it.

It’s all about that bass

 

So we like to look just as good going as we do coming. It IS all about that bass! There are tons and tons of ways to sculpt and define that booty. Machines can get you there, but I believe in using your own body to get in the best shape. The exercise I cover in this episode is great because -as you’ll see in an upcoming episode – there are variations. A whole class can be doing basically the same move with varying degrees of difficulty.  Start here, with CHANGE YOUR MIND, CHANGE YOUR BODY Martial Arts Fitness Series 2, Episode 4 by BUSHIDO KARATE.

Posted on Leave a comment

Martial Arts Fitness

Up next in Martial Arts Fitness

Our next episode, number 3 in the 2nd series, will go live on May 21st. In the meantime, you should continue with the 2nd episode of the Series. The more you practice, the better you will be!

In the next episode we’ll be doing sets of front kick/back kick combo’s and hammer fist to the temple with 2 lb weights. If you have already practiced the techniques in the first series, you can click the links for a refresher.  If you’re just starting out, you can find all 6 episodes of the first series on our YouTube channel.

Don’t forget to stretch! See you next week!

 

 

 

 

Posted on 1 Comment

Martial Arts Fitness Series 2, Episode 2

image and explanation

Here’s Episode 2 in the 2nd series of CHANGE YOUR MIND, CHANGE YOUR BODY® Martial Arts Fitness by BUSHIDO KARATE .

You can easily watch all episodes in Series 1 in about an hour. I recommend that before beginning Series 2. Keep in mind, though, that becoming proficient takes time. To put it in perspective, it normally takes about 6 months for students to be comfortable enough with these techniques to be able to test for their next karate belt. And even then, these basics are practiced regularly. They are the foundation for future training.

As an art form the moves and techniques are specific. Muscle memory is a real thing, and techniques must be practiced correctly to be executed correctly. Take your time. Expect improvement and progress with each training session.

Have fun working on your upper block, down block, front and back punch and knee kicks in this episode. Points to remember:

  • Elbows should touch when fixing for upper block and down block. Squeeze your arms together and feel the pull in your shoulders.
  • Knee kicks are propelled from the hips. Think of landing a knee kick in the bully’s belly when the bully is about 2 feet away from you. Get the reach with the hips.
  • Front punch and back punches are linear techniques. Push your punches out in a straight line from shoulder to elbow to knuckles. Pay attention to your elbows when punching. Imagine walls on either side of you; your elbow would hit the wall if you’re not punching straight in.
  • Have fun, be patient, train hard!

Martial Arts Fitness, Series 2 Episode 2