Staying fit is a primary component of a truly successful lifestyle. You can’t get the most out of your life if you always struggle to catch your breath after climbing a single flight of stairs. As journalist, communications coach, and Forbes contributor Carmine Gallo points out, many business leaders are often the most fit individuals at their companies. That isn’t a coincidence. Scientists are beginning to acknowledge that regular exercise directly affects long-term brain health.
If you want to stay in top physical and mental condition, you can engage in a wide variety of athletic activities. Just getting your body moving is a great start. If you hardly strayed from your couch during your off-hours all winter, you might want to climb on a bike. Experiencing the great outdoors on a bike can do wonders for your body, mind, and spirit. If biking isn’t your thing, you could try yoga or golf. Anything that gets your limbs in motion and your blood circulating better will have a positive impact on your brain.
If you participate in cross-fit, you might particularly enjoy jiu-jitsu, as many cross-fit athletes eventually incorporate jiu-jitsu into their life to take their training to another level. For example, Paleo superhero Robb Wolf, who started one of the first cross-fit boxes, is now tackling Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Robb Wolf calls Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu "the most interesting physical (and mental) activity" he has ever done.
Did you know that practicing a martial art can actually change your brain chemistry? The brain begins to undergo changes after the age of 35. Learning new concepts and skills may become more of a challenge. You might not be as receptive to change as you once were. On the other hand, someone who has practiced a martial art for years could actually slow that process.
For more detailed information about Jiu-Jitsu, read " Mastering the 21 Immutable Principles of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu," or Jiu-Jitsu University, both of which have excellent reviews.
Practicing jiu-jitsu is one example of how a martial art can enhance your life in a variety of ways. Whether you prefer Japanese jiu-jitsu or the Brazilian variation, you will enjoy some serious health and fitness benefits from engaging in this activity. Here are some of the top ways that jiu-jitsu can help you stay mentally and physically fit.
1. An Aerobic Workout
According to the Mayo Clinic, regular aerobic activity can help you to live longer, and you’ll be healthier at the same time. Jiu-jitsu is an excellent form of aerobic exercise. You can get the cardio exercise you need to keep your heart in good shape. Your body will begin to feel better as you get more oxygen to your blood.
2. Better Flexibility
The moves you make (known as grappling) when performing jiu-jitsu require flexibility. When you are new to the art, some of the moves may not come easily to you, such as the rubber guard. The rubber guard is a variation of the open guard move, which involves using the shin and the arm to control an opponent. Once you start practicing this move, your body will become more flexible by default. In fact, you may need to perform various stretching exercises just to maintain the flexibility you will need for jiu-jitsu. In between sessions, yoga can help with your flexibility and mobility.
3. Stress Reducer
By committing to ju-jitsu, you should ultimately be in excellent shape. That alone will enable you to keep stress at bay. You will also learn to master your thoughts and impulses, which will help to combat stress and anxiety. Stick with this martial art, and you could find yourself experiencing a new level of inner peace.
4. Lower Blood Pressure
Lowering blood pressure is another positive effect of the aerobic exercise jiu-jitsu provides. If you currently suffer from high blood pressure, this martial art could help you to manage it. Because jiu-jitsu also requires strength and flexibility, your overall fitness level will probably increase as your blood pressure decreases.
5. Fight Mental Illness
In addition to relieving stress, jiu-jitsu might also aid in fighting certain kinds of mental illness. People who are depressed could benefit from engaging in jiu-jitsu on a normal basis. This doesn’t mean you should forego getting professional help in favor of practicing a martial art. But you might integrate it with your normal routine. You will be repeatedly required to think and survive while under pressure, and that can lead to a more balanced mental state.
6. Build Body Strength
When you make jiu-jitsu a part of your life, you will become stronger. Building muscle is an inevitable effect of performing this art regularly. Grappling works all of the muscles of the body. You will build strength and notice a significant improvement in your muscle tone. In fact, intense jiu-jitsu workouts are part of the reason that Ashton Kutcher is in such great shape.
7. Better Sleep
If you have trouble getting the sleep you need, jiu-jitsu may provide a solution. This art will force your body and mind to get in sync, which will lead to a calmer mind at night. Additionally, jiu-jitsu involves a balanced workout, from strength building to aerobic activity. That level of exercise is conducive to sleeping better on a more frequent basis.
8. You Will Be Happier
Chances are good that once you begin performing jiu-jitsu moves, you will become happier and more confident. If you think that logic seems like a stretch, consider what Psychology Today contributor David J Ley Ph.D. has to say about this topic. Dr. Ley asserts that because jiu-jitsu opponents are in such close proximity to each other when grappling, they actually release the hormone known as oxytocin. This can create a life-affirming experience – and when you experience this repeatedly, you may feel a deeper sense of satisfaction and happiness about your life. How does that serve your health? According to a Science Daily report, Carnegie Mellon University psychology professor Sheldon Cohen found that, simply put: "Happy people are healthier."
If you haven’t yet tried jiu-jitsu, maybe it’s time to sign up for some classes. If you already enjoy activities like yoga, surfing and cross-country skiing, you’ll probably enjoy both the mind mastery and the physical challenge. You can benefit in many ways from practicing this martial art, and you will likely become healthier physically, mentally, and emotionally.
If you are ready to start jiu-jitsu training, this highly-rated backpack will help you carry all your gear.