Top 10 Health Benefits of Martial Arts


Many young Americans grow up with martial arts as one of their first competitive sports/activities. Not only is it a great activity that keeps participants physically active, but it instills a sense of achievement and ethics, as you work your way up to earning a black belt. But even if you have no previous experience in martial arts, it is still a great activity to pick up even as an adult. And here are the reason why, as we present the top 10 health benefits of martial arts:

  • Total body workout: Martial arts are a high-aerobic workout that uses every muscle group in the body. Your stamina, muscle tone, flexibility, balance and strength will all improve through martial arts.
  • Healthy lifestyle: Due to the total-body nature of a martial arts workout, tons of calories are burned during every class. However, you’ll also find that your natural eating signals become better regulated, so food cravings will disappear and you’ll eat less as a result.
  • Self confidence: Due to the goal setting, positive encouragement and respect for values that are part of all martial arts programs, the greatest benefit usually reported by martial arts students is greater self-confidence. You become more comfortable in all situations – whether you’re in danger or simply doing a task that takes you beyond your comfort zone — and you’ll discover you can accomplish anything you set your mind to.
  • Improved cardiovascular health: Research has found that the only real way to improve the status of the cardiovascular system is by participating in activities that stress the heart, such as martial arts.
  • Weight loss: A one hour session of moderate intensity martial arts can burn up to 500 calories.
  • Improved reflexes: Research has found that by participating in martial arts, you not only improve your reflexes while performing the activity, but actually experience faster reaction times during all activities of your life. This is very important in a number of daily activities, such as driving.
  • Focus and stillness: As Bruce Lee pointed out, behind the punches, kicks and knees, a true martial artist learns to sit with himself and see where his weaknesses are. As a martial artist, your will learn what it is to be still, challenged and focused.
  • Teaches great morals and values: Martial arts wisdom has it that after consistent practice, one becomes less impulsive and aggressive towards others. The Shaolin moral code for example comprises 12 ethics, 10 forbidden acts and 10 obligations. Patience, insight and calmness are considered pre-requisites of good Kung Fu. This reminds students of the right attitude, frame of mind and virtues to strive for inside and outside the studio.
  • Muscle tone: By participating in martial arts, you can greatly improve the amount of muscle mass you have in your body. The higher your muscle mass, the higher your metabolic demands will be, and subsequently the more calories you will burn each day, thereby helping prevent obesity and promote weight loss. High levels of muscle mass also lead to increased agility, thereby preventing falls as you age.
  • Better mood: Researchers have found that participating in a regular exercise routine is one of the best ways to improve your mood. Performing martial arts is not only a good way to relieve stress and frustration, but may actually help to make you happier. The endorphins released by physical activity appear to be active in your body for as many as four hours after exercise.

To see more of our Top 10 lists, click here.


  1. My son’s friends are going to be doing martial arts soon, and now my son is wanting to do it. I wasn’t sure if that is going to be okay for him to do that. But now that I found this, and I realized that health benefits that can come from it, I think it would be great for him. Thank you for letting me know about these things.

  2. hihi dont know what to say but i really want to leave a comment here. just ignore this comment. btw currently im trying to find some facts about martial arts and it is soooo confusing and thanks for the infos 🙂

    • BEST ADVISE I can give is look for one that’s more traditional and avoid the ones who have several martial art not saying there bad I’m sure they have there place but one who never started martial art a traditional m.a. has that extra edge you may need

  3. I like how you mentioned that practicing martial arts can help a person improve their focus. I think that improving my focus would be important, especially because I’m in school right now. I’ve seen a few martial arts schools near my home, so I’m going to stop by each of them to see which one I should attend. Are there any things that you would suggest I look for while I’m visiting each school?

  4. I’ve never done any martial arts, and I kind of wish I did when I was younger. I think it would be nice to have better reflexes, because I feel like I’m pretty slow to react with some things. I also thought it was interesting that it teaches morals and values. I didn’t know there were moral codes or anything, I think that is pretty cool. Interesting stuff, thanks!

  5. Thanks for this helpful post on the benefits of doing martial arts. I am considering doing some kickboxing training with my wife to get in better shape. I really like that it is not only good for your body, but it is also good for your self confidence and knowing that you can defend yourself a little better. I think it is a good idea for me to try it out, thanks for the help!

  6. One of the most common benefits mothers of our program has seen is that they feel like they are more “centered” with their life and family. The right martial arts school will accept students from ages 5 to 95 and they will all be able to find some benefit.

  7. Thanks for this! as an instructor it’s very disappointing when you hear, ‘oh I’m taking my child to swimming or soccer for the exercise’. I would also like to see more write ups on the benefits for children and adults with additional needs.

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