With origins as a form of martial arts and fighting in Brazil, capoeira combines martial arts, music, acrobatics and dance, and requires a great deal of flexibility and strength. It was developed in Brazil mainly by African descendants with native Brazilian influences, probably beginning in the 16th century. It is known for quick and complex moves, using mainly power, speed and leverage for a wide variety of kicks, spins and highly mobile techniques. Practitioners, or capoeiristas, are quite healthy and fit.
Here are the Top 10 Health Benefits of Capoeira:
- Stress reduction: A regular capoeira practice does wonders for relaxing the mind and body. The exercise boosts endorphins, which puts you in a better mood in no time.
- Strength: Capoeiristas are always moving around on their hands with handstands, rolls, poses, etc. This makes a marked improvement on upper body strength. Also, so many of the movements require one to engage the abs and core strength. Capoeira training causes one’s body to cope with the rigors of the ridiculous movements. The movements inherently build slow and quick twitch muscle fibers, enhance breathing and blood flow, build flexibility, build hand and eye coordination, balance and much more.
- Flexibility: Some capoeiristas are on par with serious yoga practitioners in terms of their flexibility. But even those who moderately improve their flexibility lower their risk for injury and increase their everyday mobility.
- Cardio and stamina: Many times athletes from various sports are surprised when they feel winded from a capoeira workout. This is because capoeira uses muscle groups and cardio fitness in unique ways. Intense capoeira practice can require enormous amounts of energy. This, combined with constant repetition of movements and techniques, makes capoeira a valuable cardio exercise that can boost endurance.
- Overall fitness: Capoeira will improve your strength, flexibility and stamina, thus improving your overall fitness. It may take a while to become fit, but once you start to take capoeira seriously you can become the picture of fitness.
- Gain confidence: If nothing else, capoeira is perfect for instilling a sense of pride and confidence in anyone who practices. Not only will you feel stronger and more courageous once you become comfortable in the jogo (game), you’ll find confidence in knowing that you are unique among your peers because you can do things they couldn’t imagine doing.
- Live authentically: Capoeira is a total body, mind and emotional expression. It involves one’s whole authentic person. As one grows more confident in the martial art, he or she also grows more confident in the ability to express one’s unique voice.
- Meet new people: When you join a capoeira group, you become part of a family. You will meet people from your own city and all over the world through capoeira events and practice. Capoeira is at once a widely communal and a deeply individual experience. You will gain the ability to do things that most of the general public could never dream of. And in doing so, you will discover a true sense of uniqueness.
- Learn a new language: You may not become fluent (though that’s always a possibility), but there is no doubt that you will come to understand and perhaps speak a bit of Brazilian Portuguese.
- Learn about a new culture: Capoeira is deeply connected to Africa and Brazil. In a time when many martial arts are reduced to aerobic workouts and cookie cutter dojos, capoeira maintains all of its roots and traditions.
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