Martial arts are a sport that doesn’t only affect your body but your mind as well. However, this doesn’t mean that you should underplay the value of good cardio in practising martial arts. In fact, combining martial arts with other sports can be quite useful. It will give you an edge against your competitors because not many fighters, both amateurs and pros, have such a training routine. If you wondering how can cardio increase your stamina, here are just the main points to convince you to take up at least one more sport.
Improving the strength to weight ratio
If we exclude the humorous depiction of a martial arts fighter from the 1997 movie Beverly Hills Ninja, extra pounds are not a good thing. You need speed and mobility, which are impossible to obtain if you’ve got a few extra kilos. Good cardio will help you shed those extra kilos and burn fat at a much faster rate. Over time, this will increase your strength to weight ratio which is crucial if you want to advance your fighting skills. Apart from sumo wrestling, body fat is an unwelcoming sight in martial arts and cardio workouts common in nearly all other sports can help you burn this unwanted fat.
No pain, no gain
Like you are probably already aware, building mental strength is an essential part of any martial art. If you thought that cardio exercises are for weak people and athletes who like to exercise light, you were wrong. After your first cardio, you’ll be in a lot of pain, you’ll body will ache, and you will have sweated off litres of salty water. Gasping after running a half marathon is the biggest challenge your mind will be faced with. If you can tackle this pain, then you know that your martial arts training is paying off.
Running like a top cardio exercise
In terms of sports that consists a good cardio exercise, running takes first place, pun intended. It is the most basic of cardio activities that you’ll find in many other sports like football, basketball, AFL, tennis, etc. Like other cardio activities, running is bound to burn all the extra fat, while giving you a good sweat. Furthermore running is as inexpensive as martial arts are.
All you require are solid running shoe and a scenic area to run through, such as your local park. Of course, staying safe while running is necessary for runners, especially female ones. That’s why runners enroll in self-defense courses that help them stay safe while jogging in the park at dusk. After all, there is no such thing as being too safe.
Protecting your health
Speaking of dangers lurking while you run, perhaps the biggest one would be if you didn’t do cardio. According to WHO, nearly a third of all deaths worldwide per year are the result of cardiovascular disease of some kind. This puts extra stress on doing sports cardio alongside taking up martial arts. Two of the most effective strategies for fighting heart disease are dieting and exercise. Performing martial arts places additional stress on the heart muscle so cardio should really become part of your exercise routine not only to make you a better fighter but to help you protect your health.
Submission through attrition
All the best fighters know that grinding down your opponent is much better than wasting strength and risking injury to take them down directly in a bloody showoff. “Submission through attrition” is a principle that top athletes swear by in the world of martial arts. This is because they know that a fight is won well-before the match starts. If you are physically prepared better than your opponent, then you can hope to paralyze their muscles with lactic acid buildup until they collapse.
Cardio exercises will help you prepare better for match day. You will improve your stamina but more importantly, your endurance levels will increase. This will help you win any match that is obviously going to come down to the fact which fighter loses his energy faster.
Sets of skills
Speaking of endurance, we must point out that there is no single exercise that helps build it. In fact, it is precise sports like running that help build endurance through various sets of skills they involve. Regardless of how strong, athletic, and coordinated you are, you need to be able to stay on your feet and not gasp for air after just a couple of rounds. Developing a fighting technique and style is no doubt important but building endurance is equally vital if you wish to be a respectable fighter. Martial artists are directed at cardio training and cannot expect to progress without it. If you don’t fancy running up and down the stairs, then taking up any sport will help you improve your cardio and be a better fighter.
Morgan Rose Elliott is an aromatherapist, yoga instructor, animal lover, a happily married mother of two. She enjoys reading biographies and writing poems, sunny days on the beach and any shape and form of vanilla. Crazy about the ’80s, her favorite band is Duran Duran and she is obsessed with Netflix original Stranger things.