How to Stay Healthy with Taekwondo
by Robin Gray
Taekwondo is a wonderful martial art style that many people all over the world participate in. Not everyone who trains this art will wind up a fighter or go to the Olympics, but if they train hard both in class and at home every person can reap the health benefits that it has to offer.
When training Taekwondo you can go about it one of two ways. First you can go to class, put in your time, eat what you want, and not devote any outside time to training or your martial art. A lot of people follow this path and that is okay, but don't expect to see many health benefits and get much out of the art. The second path you can choose is to attend class on a regular basis, push yourself, watch what you eat and drink, and spend extra time outside of class either training or working out. This is by far the best way to go and you can expect to change your life completely if you do it.
If you want to stay healthy with Taekwondo then you need to work on these areas of your training: stretching and flexibility, total body strength, cardiovascular work. These 3 areas will make sure that you are kicking and punching long into old age. Another plus is that by training these areas you will enjoy training and your martial art much more than someone who just puts in their time.
Stretching and Flexibility
Kicks are a big part of Taekwondo so if you aren't very flexible then you are going to have a tough time doing well and may not find it too fun. In order to succeed in this area and stay healthy you need to work on your flexibility each and every day. You don't have to spend hours on end stretching, but devote 30 or so minutes in the morning and at night to limbering up your legs, arms, back, torso, neck, etc. Not only will you find that you are able to kick higher and stronger, but you will notice that you are injured less and that you have less aches and pains in your muscles and joints. As you start to age you will really appreciate the fact that you took the time to do this when you were young.
Total Body Strength
General overall body strength is a good thing to have. Not only will you be able to take on opponents who are larger, but you should also find yourself less susceptible to injuries, and when you get older avoid the pitfalls of muscle wasting and osteoporosis. You don't have to pump iron like a body builder or down copious amounts of steroids (which hopefully you avoid anyways). Natural total body strength involves performing exercises that use your own weight and minimal devices such as weights. Push ups, pull ups, burpees, resistance bands, suspension trainers, etc. are all great ways to build a strong body that will stand the test of time. Should you want to incorporate some weights into your workout make sure to choose kettle bells and dumb bells, as they give you a wider range of motion and work your system better.Cardiovascular Conditioning
Cardiovascular conditioning is going to be the best thing you can do to stay healthy with Taekwondo. Sure it isn't going to make your punches and kicks better, or is it? If you perform a regular cardiovascular routine then not only will you stay healthy and get in good shape, you will also be able to last longer during training and sparring. Your punches and kicks will look better because they won't be so sloppy.
If you are a serious martial artist then implementing these 3 things into your training will make it better as well as keep you healthy for a long time to come. Take your training seriously and you will really enjoy training Taekwondo.
Robin Gray writes for the MMA Zone
. She has written and trained in numerous martial art styles such as: Taekwondo, Karate, and Muay Thai. If you don't find her writing about Taekwondo then you will likely find her at the local Dojo working on improving her art.
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