The human body is designed to move, and in fact both the body and mind have ways to reward an active lifestyle and punish a sedentary one. This is a holdover from prehistoric days before civilization, when our ancestors gave up their tree-bound lifestyle to run and hunt game across the African plains. Today, people have replaced such a lifestyle for exercise such as cardio, weight training, sports, and more. The human body still “remembers” that active life and in fact has exercise quotas, so that need is met with productive exercises ranging from bicycle riding to swimming to taking martial arts classes. In particular, the benefits of Jiu Jitsu, kickboxing classes, karate and the like are many, as these martial arts provide not only exercise but develop many muscles and can double as self-defense. Many people take kickboxing classes because they treat martial arts as a lifestyle, in fact. why might a modern American adult or adolescent take some kickboxing classes or karate lessons today?

Americans and Exercise

Americans have, statistically speaking, a mixed relationship with exercise in general. The American Heart Association has set some basic guidelines for children and adults alike to get enough cardio or strength training done per week, but the bad news is that even these basic guidelines are not often met. Many Americans lead a sedentary lifestyle, where children are spending hours per day using electronic screens, even on school days, rather than getting the exercise that they need. Many adults forgo the gym or a sport in favor of electronic screens of their own or a desk job, and they rarely get their heart rate elevated. This, combined with a poor diet rich in added sugars and fats (from fast food and processed food) leads to the high rates of obesity and being overweight seen today.

The good news is that many other Americans indeed take exercise seriously, especially younger ones. More than ever, Americans are taking their health seriously, and this is especially common in the Millennial generation, those born 1982-1995. These young adults grew up with the Internet, but that doesn’t stop them from eagerly going to local gyms and fitness clubs to burn calories, strengthen muscles, and have a good time overall. Many millions of Americans have gym memberships, and this often includes martial arts classes, too. In 2017, for a recent example, some 2.38 million Americans aged six and over took part in mixed martial arts classes for fitness, and kickboxing classes are particularly popular. Back in 2016, around 6.9 million Americans aged six and over took part in kickboxing in some capacity or other. These classes, combined with a good diet and other forms of exercise, may totally transform the health of any American who doesn’t meet the Heart Association’s exercise guidelines.

Getting Back in Shape

Anyone can change their diet for the better, and any able-bodied American can start an exercise program. Someone who does this may want to first consult their doctor and a nutritionist, just to be sure that their new lifestyle is designed to be both safe and effective. Someone with a heart condition, for example, or recent surgery or diabetes or food allergies will need some medical guidelines in hand before they radically change their exercise levels and how they eat.

A good diet removes fast food and processed foods and instead emphasizes wholesome and natural foods across the food pyramid, such as lean meats like chicken and fish, to beans, fruits and vegetables, whole wheat products, and dairy like cheese and milk. This cuts back on calories and boost nutrition, and it may taste great, too. Diets like these don’t have to be dull, and instead open up new recipe ideas.

Martial arts can be learned in a class at a local gym or fitness club, and they exercise many muscle groups in the body and burn a lot of calories. These martial arts, combined with weight training (at home or the gym) along with cardio such as jogging, swimming, or bicycle riding, may burn many more calories. What is more, these martial arts may simply be fun and gratifying to practice and learn, and they can double as self-defense if it comes to that.