Martial arts are a great way to get fit and enjoy the process. They typically involve high-intensity exercise, featuring lots of precise movements that will make your muscles trim and tight. But what are the best ways to tone up using martial arts and which disciplines should you look into? In this guide, we'll take you through some of our top picks and give you the low-down on why martial arts are one of the most fun ways to lose weight and get in shape.
- The Many Benefits of Martial Arts
The benefits of martial arts aren't limited to the physical. While they all require a great deal of training - which will consist of intense, calorie-burning physical activities - they also have a big affect on the psyche. By committing to martial arts training, you'll learn mental toughness, discipline, willpower and motivation - all within a competitive format. As well as helping you tone up, many find these aspects useful in day-to-day life.
Being able to physically defend yourself is also a confidence booster for many and will only grow as you become more capable in your chosen discipline. Similarly, many forms have an intrinsic spiritual element to them, which many practitioners find intensely rewarding.
- Choosing the Best Martial Art for You
There are myriad martial arts out there and no one-size-fits-all options. Therefore, choosing your discipline is one of the most important decisions you'll make and is well worth taking your time over. While the majority of forms have physical benefits, some are better than others for muscle tone and weight loss. You can broadly put most techniques into two categories - hard and soft - with the former focusing on strength, endurance and power and the latter on low-exertion technique. Some of the best options include:
Karate: One of the most popular formats for beginners, Karate (meaning 'Empty Hand') originated in Japan and while there are several styles, it is mainly focused on a series of kicks, punches and grapples. Karate training typically consists of the basic techniques, forms (also known as kata) and sparring - meaning it's great for those looking to get stuck in straight away.
Taekwondo: This Korean martial art has consistently been one of the most popular over the years and the intense physical activity associated with Taekwondo training makes it a great option for improving tone and shedding pounds. It's gyeorugi sparring technique has been an event in the Olympic Games since the year 2000.
Muay Thai: Born in south-east Asia, this kickboxing format utilised the hard points of the body - like elbows and knees - to devastating effect. It has become increasingly popular in recent years and is thought to have been practices in one form or another for millennia.
These forms are a great source of anaerobic and aerobic exercise - promoting endurance and strength. Similarly, training for these techniques involves a lot of physical coordination, meaning sit-ups, push-ups and intense repetitions are usually on the menu.
Martial arts are a great option for those looking to tone up and have fun doing it. For many, martial arts become an intrinsic part of life and can have a range of holistic benefits, in addition to being an enjoyable and accessible hobby.
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