November is Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month. Did you know Martial Arts can improve your brain?
We all know Martial Arts improves physical fitness and it can improve your cognitive abilities too!
1. Improved Attention
In a study by the Journal of Sport and Health Science researchers found “The results show that there is a significant improvement in motor reactivity, stress tolerance, and divided attention only after the 5-month karate training period. Additionally, the results of the secondary study indicate further improvements after 10 months.”
2. Reduced Agression
Another study conducted with children in grades 3-5 reported ” Results indicated that boys who participated in more Gentle Warrior sessions reported a lower frequency of aggression and greater frequency of helpful bystanding (i.e., helpful behavior toward victims of bullying) over time, relative to boys with less frequent participation.”
3. Better Stress Management
The European Journal of Human Movement expressed in their study on how martial arts combats stress “regular exercise has multifarious benefits for health, especially activities that strongly integrate both psychological and physiological training. Such is the case for martial arts (MA), the whole of which could be classified as mindful movements. Given that MA requires expenditure of energy done with a high level of concentration, engagement in this form of exercise may provide an interesting and novel strategy for enhancing physical and mental benefits. The regular practice of MA could elevate MF (Mindfulness) levels of practitioners and thus influence positively on stress management and therefore quality of life and well-being.”
4. Better Emotional Well-being
In a study conducted by Petra Jensen and Katharina Dahmen-Zimmer 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.
5. Improved Memory
Italian Researchers found in their study between 39 kids, half of whom did martial arts and the other half not, “our results reveal significant differences between two groups (p < 0.05). Karate children show better speed times, explosive legs strength and coordination skills. They scored better on working memory, visual selective attention and executive functions.” Their conclusion was “karate exercise training shows global benefits resulting in physiological and psychological gains in children.”
Martial Arts have been practiced for thousands of years but we are just now learning the scientific links between martial arts and improved cognitive abilities.
Because there are so many martial arts options in our world today, there has to be a martial arts program for each one of us. We just have to find it.