Weight Loss & Martial Arts

female doing crunches for weight loss

Obesity is a risk factor in 4 of the leading 10 causes of death in the US (coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, and cancer). Unfortunately, the prevalence of obesity is growing. The National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) shows that an astonishing 24% of children ages 2 to 17 are considered obese. Finding fun, creative ways to stay active can help with weight management. Martial arts and weight loss can be the winning combo to get more active!

Childhood obesity often leads to obesity in adulthood, and lifelong obesity is a huge contributor to early death. These facts should be concerning for everyone, but it is especially concerning for parents who want to instill healthy habits into their children at a young age. One of those habits is getting plenty of exercise, which, let’s face it, can be a difficult thing to do when your child (young or adult child) is addicted to the latest video game craze. 

So, why choose martial arts for weight loss? Is it a sustainable way to promote long-term results? How effective is it for treating obesity? Let’s find out.

Using Martial Arts As Exercise

Logically, any type of exercise can be effective in treating obesity. Being sedentary and being obese often go hand-in-hand, so the first step is to get moving. However, in today’s busy world, don’t simply choose activities at random. Choose something that is time-effective which can be a big factor in how well you keep up with your routine. If something is too much of a time commitment, it’s not easily sustainable and you may end up quitting before you ever see results.

Using martial arts for weight loss is not only fun, but it can also give the extra motivation to keep going. For instance, the beauty of karate is that there is always something to work towards—a new belt, a stronger mindset, etc. Achieving simple, clear goals is highly effective for both adults and children. And who doesn’t love a little recognition from time to time? Learn more about martial arts for adults.

karate kick

Comparing Martial Arts Weight Loss Exercises

There is often a debate about whether cardiovascular exercise or weight training is better for weight management. However, the reality is that the two go hand-in-hand and an effective weight loss program will include both. 

Martial arts is unique as it offers both cardiovascular and weight training making it an effective strategy for achieving weight loss goals. Let’s take a closer look at both to see how martial arts can fit into your fitness journey.

Cardiovascular Exercise & Martial Arts

Experts say that adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity per week to maintain a healthy heart. Cardiovascular exercise gets the heart pumping and, on average, burns more total calories per activity than other types of exercise. For this reason, it’s been a traditional weight loss focus for many who are trying to drop weight. And the more you weigh, the more calories you burn through cardio.

Attending a martial arts class 2-3 times a week will fulfill the recommended requirement for cardiovascular exercise to maintain a healthy heart. Kicking and punching drills, sparring, and other activities that are common to see in martial arts classes are exactly what you need to increase your heart rate. You’ll burn those calories and refine your skills by doing so.

Weight Training & Martial Arts

What about weight training? You probably haven’t seen anybody doing deadlifts or carrying around free weights in a martial arts dojo. So how do martial arts use weight training?

While martial arts doesn’t have a focus on lifting weights, you will get stronger if you practice regularly. It’s common to see bodyweight weight training exercises like pushups, squats, and more in a martial arts class. Just because you’re not using separate weights, doesn’t mean you’re not building muscle tone. 

Those who may be nervous to try traditional weight training can easily incorporate natural bodyweight moves and start building muscle mass without a second thought. It’s a great way to overcome mental blocks since the moves you use are simple, yet effective.

Furthermore, martial arts students learn to perform katas, a pre-choreographed set of moves used to learn and demonstrate techniques. During the kata, it is common for the practitioner to hold deep stances and “strike” with intensity (which requires muscle tension). Though it might not seem like it to an observer, a well-performed kata is actually an intense workout.

The perk of weight training is that you will continue burning calories long after the workout is over. Muscle weighs more than fat, so as you train and gain more muscle, you will burn even more fat. You’ll also increase your resting metabolic rate, which is the rate your body burns calories while at rest. 

While cardiovascular training may initially burn more fat, weight training continues to benefit you long-term. Using both together, as in martial arts, can help you achieve weight loss goals faster and more effectively.

Fitness, Martial Arts, and Achieving Weight Loss Goals

There are many different martial arts out there — karate, tae kwon do, Brazilian jiu-jitsu—just to name a few. Which one is the best martial art for weight loss?

The answer isn’t quite that simple. Honestly, it has more to do with how the class is run and how much effort the participant puts in. Whether you’re choosing a karate class for you or your child, find something that sparks interest. You’ll be far more likely to go to class and put in 110% if there’s a fun factor involved, and sustainability is key to successful weight loss.

Exploring Martial Arts in Ashburn, VA

Remember that fitness is a lifelong journey, not a destination. Help your child discover activities that they enjoy, so it becomes a natural part of their lives. Super Kicks Karate in Ashburn, VA encourages families to participate together, so take the time to explore martial arts together. After all, the family that sparrs together, stays together, right?

If you’re interested in seeing how martial arts weight loss can work, check out an online class or drop by to see us in person. We would love to introduce you to a fun new way to manage your weight. You’ll gain so much more than physical strength and activity!

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