Most martial arts require a good level of cardio-vascular fitness if you are to perform at your best and enjoy your training.
It is no secret that cardio-vascular fitness is important to your health at any age. It increases the oxygen content of the blood and strengthens the respiratory system. If you are over 40, however, it can be even more important to keep your cardio-vascular system in top shape. As the body ages, it becomes prone to a variety of ailments such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes and osteoporosis. While it may be impossible to prevent aging or to turn back the clock, cardio-vascular fitness can help lower the risk of many diseases associated with getting older and can improve the overall quality of your life.
While most people have a general idea of how cardio-vascular exercise works, it is important to understand how it affects your body. Essentially, any exercise that raises your heart rate is considered to be cardio-vascular exercise. Most types of exercise are designed to work a specific muscle or group of muscles, and cardio is no exception. Your heart is, after all, one of your most important muscles. By exercising your heart, you make it stronger, improving its pumping power and its efficiency, and decreasing your resting heart rate. As your heart becomes stronger and more efficient, you reduce your risk of heart attack, stroke and coronary disease.
The best way to achieve cardio-vascular fitness is through aerobic exercise. Martial arts are a perfect way to get your heart pumping at a healthy rate. The benefits, however, extend far beyond the heart. In fact, the cardio-vascular system includes everything from the lungs to the millions of tiny vessels that bring blood, and oxygen, to your body’s cells. A strong heart pumps blood with ease, resulting in lower blood pressure and better circulation. The blood also produces an increased number of red blood cells, which are used to transport oxygen. This means that your vital organs get a larger dose of the oxygen they need to function properly.
Cardio-vascular fitness is an important part of preventing many of the conditions that commonly affect those over 40. Staying healthy now, however, can also greatly improve the quality of your life throughout your 70’s, 80’s and even your 90’s. In fact, the earlier you start to build up your cardio-vascular system, the better. You will enter your later years with a strong heart and healthy organs, and will continue to experience the benefits for years to come.
If you find yourself struggling to keep up in your martial arts class you might want to consider doing more cardio work outside of class. While participating in class will help you get fit, there is so much more that needs to be covered in the course of a lesson that you cannot get all the cardio exercise you need, especially if you are only training a couple of times a week. Find ways to exercise your heart outside of your lessons, and you will notice a big difference in your training.