They say ‘Father Time’ catches up with us all. The industries that tell us they can help keep it at bay are worth billions, but unfortunately, they often only tackle the superficial.
For true longevity, it is much more than a few less wrinkles in your skin. It is about being healthy in body, mind, and spirit, and martial arts is the perfect way to to achieve this on all fronts.
Don’t just take our word for it; just look at the many world-class martial artists aged 40 and above competing at the very highest level here in ONE Championship, such as Alain Ngalani (42), Narantungalag Jadambaa (41), and Yodsanan Sityodtong (43).
They constantly perform with the speed, power, agility, and grace of more than a decade their junior, boast incredible physiques, and turn back the clock each time they step into the cage. Without a doubt, they prove that age is just a number.
In fact, Ngalani is fresh off setting the record for fastest knockout in ONE heavyweight history with his 11-second destruction of former world title challenger Hideki Sekine. He will next be competing in the main event of ONE: HERO’S DREAM in Yangon against ONE Middleweight World Champion Aung La N Sang in an historic Open Weight Super Bout.
Here are four important ways that martial arts can help you feel forever young.
It Keeps You Physically Fit
Physical activity is beneficial in so many ways. From being great for your heart and respiratory system, to helping combat the onset and symptoms of various age-related diseases such as heart disease and stroke, working out can literally save your life.
Martial arts, especially, keeps you moving. The intensity can vary dramatically depending on what you are capable of. It could be as light as non-contact arts to as heavy as sparring sessions. Regardless, any type of martial arts activity will carry tremendous health benefits, and you will find a style that best suits your personal needs.
Not only will you be raising the heart rate and getting the blood pumping, but you will be learning and enjoying it at the same time, which means you are more likely to stick with it.
It Keeps You Learning And Thinking
Learning new things and utilizing all of your senses has great outcomes for mental capacity as we age. Instead of being more forgetful, you can maintain your clarity with regular practice in martial arts by taking on board new techniques using sight, sound, touch and proprioception.
For example, Brazilian jiu-jitsu requires you to remember dozens of moves, as well as the hundreds of variations that go with each one, and apply them in both defense and offense. You’ll also have to constantly think one or two steps ahead whenever you roll with a partner. It doesn’t get more cerebral than that.
If you are mentally sedentary, just the same as if you were physically, your brain will grow weaker and less forceful by the day. With lifestyle changes such as picking up martial arts, you can constantly work your brain to keep it functioning and alert.
You’ll Never Be Lonely
The evidence keeps coming to show that loneliness is one of the key factors in aging psychologically, and when that happens it is downhill quickly. Going to the gym will help you make new friends with similar interests, who often turn into friends outside of the dojo too.
Being socially isolated is a disaster for many reasons, but having the impetus to forge new social circles, all while doing something you enjoy, will keep you engaged with others.
It Reduces Stress
Stress is a killer, and it is sure to accelerate the aging process. Older people who had endured less stress in their lifetimes perform closer to younger people on cognitive tests.
Aerobic and cardiovascular exercise is a great tool for decreasing the stress hormones, including cortisol. The neurohormones produced during exercise also help us to feel great and sleep better, so it is a win-win on just about any front!