Martial Arts for your Mental Health

  • 05/16/19
  • Health and fitness

May is Mental Health Awareness Month and this year’s theme is body image, which is a phrase used to describe how we think and feel about our bodies. Having body image concerns is relatively common – a recent study by the Mental Health Foundation found that over a third of UK adults have felt anxious or depressed about their body image and one in five UK adults have felt shame because of their body image in the last year. These are rather alarming statistics, and here at The Martial Arts Place, we want everyone to feel confident in their own bodies. Looking after your mental wellbeing is just as (if not more) important as maintaining your physical health. You wouldn’t let a broken arm go untreated, so make sure you address your mental health concerns with the same amount of support, effort and care. 

Although we do emphasise the physical benefits which come along with martial arts, there are countless benefits which contribute toward towards a happy and healthy mind too. According to the Mayo Clinic, exercising can reduce symptoms of depression, by releasing “feel-good brain chemicals” like endocannabinoids and endorphins. Exercising also increases body temperature, which helps individuals to relax. And as if you needed any more convincing, here’s 5 other reasons why martial arts are great for your mental health…

  • Higher self-esteem – Consistent training will help you to recognise your true capability. Whether it be attending your first grading or mastering a move you’ve been working on for a while, broadening your experiences will enable you to realise your full potential. After tackling a tough training session, you’ll be left feeling more confident in the goals you are able to meet. This will result in higher self-confidence and a lot more self-esteem.
  • Exercise directly impacts the brain - Regular exercise increases the volume of certain brain regions. The area of the brain in control of the regulation of emotion, memory and learning is called the hippocampus. Regular exercise results in an increase in new hippocampal neurons; and those who suffer from mental health conditions have been found to have a reasonably low number of hippocampal neurons. This means that the more you exercise, the better you’ll feel not just physically, but mentally too. And for those who are wondering – yes, we are science experts now