With today’s obesity epidemic and all the news about heart health, more people are forgetting the importance of strength training. Cardiovascular training and strength training can work together to help you achieve optimal overall health, although it is often difficult to find one activity that pairs the two together. Karate training is one of those activities that gives your heart a workout while keeping you lean and strong.
As we age, our body naturally loses muscle mass. If we don’t replace the lean muscle, we increase the percentage of fat in our bodies. This is one of the many reasons it is important to participate in a fun and enjoyable activity that provides both an aerobic and an anaerobic workout.
The exercises, like kicking, squatting, lunging and punching, that are practiced in Karate classes are all great ways to increase strength. Push-ups, sit-ups, and leg lifts are also great strength training exercises common to a Karate class. We have moved past the stigma that building muscles is just for body builders.
Below are some great benefits of strength training:
Bone Strength — Strength training increases bone density and strength by stressing your bones. As we age, this can help prevent osteoporosis or hunching.
Toning — Toning your muscles helps burn calories more efficiently. Muscles burn calories automatically, so the more lean muscle you build, the more calories your body will burn.
Endurance — Greater endurance is key to any sport and life in general. When you have more lean muscle, you won’t get fatigued as fast.
Focus — Some research suggests strength training can also help maintain focus in older adults.
So remember: when you exercise, focus on cardiovascular health and building lean muscle. There are many options out there to build lean muscle; start with weight machines, free weights, and resistant bands. And remember, Karate can provide all these great things in just one activity.