Exercise is the best way to achieve being fit, but not all of us have the motivation for kettlebells, supermans and burpees. If you can’t get enthusiastic about cardio workouts or CrossFit, then maybe picking up a more focused routine is closer to your style. In the world of fitness, there is nothing more focused than the martial arts.
Originally developed for self-defense, today many modern styles of martial arts are more for body training and fitness. We’re looking at six different martial arts that are great for beginners or people looking for different ways to get into shape. We’ve listed them from lowest impact on the body to highest impact, so if you have chronic pain or injuries, stick with the first few suggestions. However, if you’re in decent shape and are looking to push yourself, try the style that sounds best to you.
- Yoga: A perfect low impact series of techniques that are meant to improve flexibility, balance, and breathing. There are no combat skills taught here – it’s all body training and focus. Perfect for all skill levels and ages.
- Pilates: A more intense form of yoga designed to prioritize strengthening your core muscles. Great for those looking to alleviate lower back pain or who are ready for more of a challenge.
- Tai chi: These days we think of tai chi as a more active form of yoga, though it puts more emphasis on fluidity of movement and body control. This is still technically a martial art and some schools will teach you useful defensive techniques.
- Aikido: Can be thought of as a Japanese style of tai chi, aikido is a “soft” martial art, meaning it turns your opponents’ strengths and aggression against them. Aikido will teach you more practical martial arts but puts a harder strain on the body.
- Wing Chun: A “harder” style of kung fu that emphasizes balance and body structure for controlled strikes and close-in fighting. The combination of strikes and grappling ensure a full-body workout but also puts more of a wear on the body.
- Boxing: Yes, it is technically a martial art! Boxing has a high amount of cardio work combined with fluid movement and defensive techniques. You’re going to be doing a LOT of striking, so be prepared for sore joints and tired arms.
These are just a few of the different style of martial arts that exist in the world – we haven’t even discussed the extremely popular sports of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu or Mixed Martial Arts. No matter your speed or level of intensity, you’ll find many different instructors of many different styles in any large town or city, all who would be happy to welcome new students.