There are many benefits to training martial arts, not the least of which are physical, mental, and spiritual in nature. However in a pandemic ravaged world, the health benefits of training martial arts and the ability to boost our immune system are of top priority.
Can martial arts boost my bodies immune system?
A 2019 review in the Journal of Sport and Health Science found that regular exercise (such as martial arts training) can boost your immune system’s defense activity and metabolic health, resulting in improved immune response, improved respiratory function, lower illness risk & a greater ability to fight infection & viruses . Science Daily reported that by keeping your immune system healthy, you increase your chances of warding off viruses — COVID-19 and others — and regular exercise remains one of the most effective (and science-backed) ways to do so.
How does exercise boost my immunity?
A study by Dr David Nieman, a professor at Appalacian State Universities, Human Performance Laboratory states "typically, people only have a small number of immune cells circulating around the body. Those cells prefer to hang out in lymphoid tissues and organs like the spleen, where your body kills viruses, bacteria, and other microorganisms that cause disease.
Because exercise increases blood and lymph flow as your muscles contract, it also increases the circulation of immune cells, making them roam the body at a higher rate and at higher numbers. Specifically, exercise helps to recruit highly specialized immune cells—such as natural killer cells and T cells—find pathogens (like viruses) and wipe them out".
So we know that regular exercise can indeed help boost our immunity system, but not all exercise is ideal.
Which exercises can boost my immunity and which can reduce it?
Health.com reports that most studies considered aerobic activity like martial arts, running, or cycling as being the best form of exercise to gain the benefits, and to provide sufficient stimulus to recruit immune cells into circulation. Working out regularly for 60 minutes at a moderate aerobic level, and 15 minutes at a vigorous level was best to obtain the increase in immune response.
Other forms of exercise such as High Intensity Interval training (HIIT) have less science to support the benefits, but Dr Nieman says “Our bodies are used to this back and forth nature, even for a few hours, as long as it’s not unrelenting high-intensity exercise”.
PhD Adam Jajtner, assistant professor of exercise science and physiology at Kent State University, who has also studied exercise and the immune response, touts resistance training (such as body weight exercises in martial arts) as a smart strategy for improving immunity. However, he does caution against severe muscle-damaging workouts, like lifting super heavy weights or doing eccentric exercises (slowing down the downward phase of a movement) so that the muscle repair process doesn’t compete with your immune function. So, unless you've regularly been keeping up with a workout like CrossFit, now's probably not the time to start a new high-impact strength routine.
Most studies found that extreme exercise can increase risk of illness, marathon runners, triathletes, power lifters can have a negative effect come into play, if you're running at a high intensity for at least a half-marathon distance or cycling or swimming at a tough pace for 90 minutes or more, lifting excessive weights which require sustained periods of recovery and repair for your body, any of these longer, more intense activities can cause stress on the body that could lead to lowered immune function.
Why Martial Arts to Boost Immunity & Gain All Round Health Benefits?
For people beginning a new exercise regime in particular, they should focus on aerobic activity or combine it with moderate resistance training, very much like most martial arts classes. From the physical improvements, to the enhancement of both your mental and spiritual well-being, martial arts paves the way for people to gain numerous health benefits.
Wellbeing Benefits of Training Martial Arts:
- Stronger Immune System
- More Energy
- Lower Stress Levels
- Better Sleep
- Positive Mind Set
- Encourages Healthy Lifestyle Choices
Physical Benefits of Training Martial Arts:
- Improved Cardiovascular Health
- Improved Muscle Tone
- Quicker Reflexes
- Greater Mobility
- Increased Flexibility
- Improved Balance & Co-ordination
- Increased Strength
Take Your First Step to Health in 2021
With Covid-19, Obesity & Heart disease impacting our nations health & the increasing demands of our busy schedules and day-to-day stress, it comes as no surprise that we sometimes fail to take care of ourselves properly. If you notice that this has been happening to you, and you are looking for a new exciting solution, then try martial arts. By leading a healthy lifestyle on top of consistent training, you will definitely be taking care of your body the way it needs to be taken care of.
There’s no doubt that martial arts can benefit your body greatly, that’s why we believe that it would help you to get into the best shape ever – inside & out. Now that you know what you can do to give your immune system that much needed boost, go forth and punch your way to great health!
Call us on 07 578 5342 or email us firstname.lastname@example.org to book a one week FREE trial.