With a little bit of research one realizes that the health and fitness industry affects nearly everyone and is currently a huge multi-billion dollar industry and growing. But of course this makes sense because with out ones health how can one really enjoy life and live it to its fullest?
When I watch TV (which is rare anymore) I can’t help but notice the numerous advertisements, programs, etc, that are trying to the sell health related items, fitness equipment and exercise programs. But unfortunately you rarely see anyone addressing whole-life health and fitness. Instead you see a focus geared merely towards superficial physical appearance and quick no-effort results.
People should realize that health and fitness is not a quick fix but a life-long pursuit. We must therefore be mindful daily and not let things get out of whack from improper living. A person doesn’t get fit and keep it without effectively incorporating a healthy life style, or what we call in the martial arts a healthy way-of-life.
There are so many wonderful characteristic and benefits of traditional based martial arts that virtually do not exist in other heath and fitness programs. For example, sports, running and lifting weights can improve fitness but can they simultaneously teach you how to defend and heal yourself physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually?
Exercise, fitness and health is a by-product of a healthy lifestyle in conjunction with many other factors such as proper diet, reduction of stress and psychological mastery (including emotional mastery) along with spiritual based activities. In an ideal life (which we all can strive for) every activity which one does should benefit them in the most complete sense of the word.
You may have heard that a person is a three-part being made up of a Body, Soul and Spirit. So, if we use this three-part model then it makes sense to identify what each of these “parts” mean. After which, we must determine how best to utilize them in a healthy way-of-life.
Defining each “part” is not the purpose of this paper but I will address some of the “Body” attributes as they relate to exercise and fitness.
The following are Components of Physical fitness and can be found in a Traditional based Martial Arts.
Health Related Components: Those factors that are related to how well the systems of your body work
1. Cardiovascular Fitness: The ability of the circulatory system (heart and blood vessels) to supply oxygen to working muscles during exercise.
2. Body Composition: The relative percentage of body fat compared to lean body mass (muscle, bone, water, etc)
3. Flexibility: The range of movement possible at various joints.
4. Muscular strength: The amount of force that can be produced by a single contraction of a muscle
5. Muscular endurance: The ability of a muscle group to continue muscle movement over a length of time.
Skill Related Components: Those aspects of fitness which form the basis for successful sports participation.
1. Speed: The ability to move quickly from one point to another
2. Agility: The ability of the body to change direction quickly
3. Balance: The ability to maintain an upright posture while still or moving
4. Coordination: Integration with hand and/or foot movements with the input of the senses.
5. Reaction Time: Amount of time it takes to get moving.
6. Power: The ability to do strength work at an explosive pace