Best Martial Arts for Seniors
Martial arts are an excellent way to have fun as you get your blood pumping. They can also be used in a pinch to defend yourself. However, a majority of the footage we see shows young people performing the exercise. Many often wonder if there are any good martial arts for elderly people. Luckily, the answer to that question is an emphatic yes.
Wake-up Call or Desire to Simply Feel Better
Suddenly, you get a wake-up call, generally from pain, discomfort or maybe an injury that could heal in a couple of days previously now lingers on for a couple of weeks. And when you have little sleep or lack of rest, you feel completely run down for several days until the weekend when you can rest for a whole day or more. Maybe you find that you suffer from colds and other viral illnesses more often. General tension and anxiety seem to last longer. Your libido may decline.
These are signs of poor health habits are catching up with you.
Commonly, these wake-up calls happen to people in their 50s. Unfortunately, there is a growing number of younger people burning out and experiencing these problems in their 30s and 40s—some, even in their 20s.
You can ignore the warning signs and stay in denial, or you can do something right now to reverse the damage and begin regenerating your body, mind and spirit—regardless of your chronological age
Clearly, the earlier in life you start practicing martial arts, the greater your physical and mental capacities will be in old age. However, many people basically ignore their health until the natural healing and physical capacities of youth start to diminish.
We’re going to take a look at the factors that comprise great martial arts for seniors as well as introduce a few of the best martial arts for seniors that you can start practicing today.
Things to Keep in Mind When Choosing a Martial Art
Many seniors are learning martial arts in order to keep both their bodies and brains sharp. It is very possible to routinely practice and stay healthy at any age. However, elders shouldn’t just jump in like they’re still teenagers. Certain actions may be too extreme for older people. Keep these guidelines in mind to avoid potential injuries down the road.
Less Stress on the Body
Martial arts with minimal stress on the body are great ways to start. Particularly, the back and knees are the two main points of focus. Each area is prone to injury during physical exertion. Martial arts with tons of jumps, throws, and advanced kicks are too much for an aging body.
Disciplines such as Judo or Tae Kwon Do aren’t the best martial arts for seniors. There are simply too many risky actions to make it practical. Even younger students of these disciplines can have bad knees or backs from overdoing it.
Less Demanding Skills
If you don’t have much muscle mass, choosing a discipline with lower strength requirements will also help. Speed also deteriorates over time so it is best to avoid quick combos as well. Martial arts with many repeated punches and kicks are out of the question. These chain techniques require both strength and speed to pull off effectively.
The Three Best Martial Arts for Elderly People
Now that we know what to avoid, we can focus on choosing a martial art that is perfect for elderly beginners.
This Israeli form of self-defense is practiced all over the world. It combines some of the most efficient techniques from many martial arts and adds a few additional layers to them. A majority of these moves meet our low strength and minimal stress guidelines. The movements are very smooth and don’t need to be performed at a lightning pace.
Krav Maga does feature a few kicks and throws. While these are a component of the art, it isn’t a huge focus. Seniors should focus on the litany of moves that are easy on the joints. These moves will teach you how to defend yourself and provide a great deal of exercise whenever you practice.
Tai Chi is often referred to as one of the finest martial arts for seniors to learn. It has extremely low strength requirements are doesn’t stress the body at all. In fact, Tai Chi is renowned for its vast array of health benefits. Research has shown that Tai Chi practitioners have lower blood pressure and fewer health problems overall than most seniors.
This martial art was used as a defensive practice for guards protecting the emperor of China. Nowadays, Tai Chi puts a much smaller emphasis on defense. It is mostly just for exercise and building up strength. If you don’t intend on defending yourself, Tai Chi is an excellent way to get some exercise.
Wing Chun has a much stronger push towards defense. It is a style of Kung Fu that is meant for close encounters of any kind. It augments your reflexes and builds up how efficient the body is. These are excellent traits for older people to work on. The benefits are huge even though this is the toughest martial art on the list.
You will need to throw many punches and kicks in order to flourish in Wing Chun. The good news is that these blows are less dependent on strength than many traditional styles of Kung Fu. Each attack is very efficient and uses the strength of the opponent against them. This eliminates the need to have tons of your own power.
Which Should You Start With?
Each of the above martial arts offers many great benefits and advantages for seniors. They all increase your exercise levels and teach you some defensive techniques. If you want a very relaxing experience, you will prefer Tai Chi. It is simple to learn and is often equated to dancing.
If you want something more strenuous, Wing Chun is the best choice. It offers tons of defensive techniques and will hone your body into shape. If you prefer a balance between the two, check out Krav Maga. It provides good defense at a slower pace than Wing Chun.
Wing Chun`s Benefits for Seniors Over Fifty
Although all seniors can expect to gain the range of kung fu health benefits, practicing internal kung fu styles has special benefits for senior people over 50.
Martial arts for seniors:
- Increases physical balance
- Regulates and lowers blood pressure
- Improves circulation
- Promotes a good night’s sleep
- Re-establishes bio-mechanical alignments
- Restores sexual vitality
- Many health studies conducted in China and the West show how kung fu and meditation practices improve health.