Once you reach middle age, a lot of people almost seem to give up on the pursuit of physical and mental fitness in the belief that they are too old. This is completely preposterous, because with the improving life expectancy and standard of medicine in the Western world, we are likely to have many decades of living ahead of us. Would you rather face your golden years with a spring in your step or succumbing to the various ailments associated with being out of shape?
Staying Fit & Healthy Matters
The British Journal of Sports Medicine revealed some fascinating statistics relating to the positive impact of martial arts on middle-aged people, especially when compared to sedentary individuals. For example, the average body fat of a sedentary middle-aged adult is slightly over 30 percent, while the average martial artist’s body fat was just under 19 percent! This is a startling difference, but is just the tip of the iceberg. Here are some more statistics from that study:
(MA = Martial Artist, S = Sedentary)
- Push Ups: MA 22, S 10
- Sit Ups: MA 67, S 37
- VO2 Max (ml/kg/min): MA 41, S 31
The study also found that martial artists had better grip strength, quad and overall leg strength, balance, and flexibility, plus the difference in each case study is quite significant.
Find a Physical Hobby
It is extremely important to find an active hobby and karate, or other forms of martial arts, can be taken on by anybody, regardless of age. As a beginner, you get to operate at your own pace and it is easy to find a class where everyone is at the same skill level, so you don’t feel out of place. Of course, there is the obvious benefit of learning how to defend yourself in a bad situation, but the real bonus is that taking up karate, even at the age of 50 and beyond, can greatly improve your quality of life as you continue to age.
What Happens as We Age?
As we get older, flexibility and balance are two of the biggest issues we face. If your balance deteriorates, it is very likely that you will suffer frequent falls and it so happens that these falls are among the most common reason for severe injury or even death in the elderly. A decline in balance and flexibility is deemed to be ‘inevitable’, which means people simply ‘accept it’, but this shouldn’t be the way things are at all.
It is a fact that taking up martial arts in your 30s, 40s, or 50s can reduce the effects of aging on the body. While you may not become a teenager or a twenty-something again, there will be days when you do feel more athletic and focused! The aforementioned study by the British Journal of Sports Medicine also showed that middle-aged adults that performed martial arts twice a week over the course of three years had a much lower than normal risk of osteoporosis, high blood pressure, Type 2 Diabetes, and lower back pain. Therefore, don’t become a slave to an inactive lifestyle, swap that couch and television for a karate uniform and kick and punch your way to better health!