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Why Exercise?


The following is an article written by:
Gary J. Stevens, 7th Degree Black Belt
Master Stevens is a high ranking Black Belt with over 42 years of TaeKwonDo training and teaching experience. He is certified in the United States & Korea.

Why Exercise?


You are not breaking any laws by not exercising, not even the laws of nature. You can live a relatively normal life, filled with much joy and satisfaction without ever exercising. Sometimes taking your body somewhere to exercise it, is somewhat akin to walking the dog on a cold rainy night – (something we know we should do, but don’t want to).

So why exercise? Is it fun to do? Do you feel better afterwards? Would it make the bending, the twisting and the turning of everyday life any easier if you were in better shape? Is it mentally stimulating and challenging? Or is it a mindless tedious chore?

How about changing your point of view about exercising first and then changing your type of exercise. The truth is that all exercise, when done in moderation, has real health benefits. The problem comes into play when we view our exercise program as a necessary requirement we must put our bodies through (as if our bodies are separate from the rest of us) in order to achieve our goals.

Before you jump to any conclusions about the following suggestion, read on! Have you ever considered the Martial Arts as an “exercise program” (as opposed to a “self-defense” program)?

There are many different martial art styles, each one of them varies greatly in techniques. There are many schools of the same style of martial art, each one different in their teaching methods. One common denominator is that all the martial art styles burn calories, while strengthening your heart and lungs, upper and lower body and reducing your everyday level of stress.

“I am not a fighter?” / “I don’t want to get injured?” / “I’m not flexible enough!” / “I’m too old!” / “I have no interest in learning self-defense!”

Let’s put all the excuses aside for a moment and take an honest look at how it might be an unexpectedly pleasant way to get into and stay in great shape while enjoying the workout.

A typical martial arts class starts with 15 to 20 minutes of non-stop calisthenics, toning and stretching exercises to warm up and firm up your body. It includes exercises to build upper body strength (strength not mass), tighten stomach and thigh muscles and generally work on your body alignment, shape and overall conditioning.

The rest of the class includes aerobic movement to build up your stamina and endurance, which tends to benefit your heart and lungs; punching and defensive blocking drills for your upper body and kicking drills to increase your speed and flexibility and to tighten your lower body.

All martial arts schools vary in the levels of actual contact allowed between students, which is why it is always advisable to view or try a class before enrolling. Some schools also train with music and use light hand weights for added strength benefits.

Not only is it fun to do, beneficial for your mind, body and spirit, you can also give up the stressful fear of not being able to defend your family and yourself. While toning your body you learn practical techniques to keep you safe in most situations. All of this adds up to good, clean sweaty fun, while taking your focus away from the “chore of exercising”.

Martial arts lessons provide adults and children with fun, exercise, discipline, awareness, concentration, self-respect, respect for others, self-control and physical skills that will have a positive effect on the quality of one’s life.


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Individuals who study the martial arts improve their general fitness including their reflexes, flexibility, coordination and agility.

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