From Brazilian Jiu Jitsu to Tai Chi to even Muay Thai, martial arts have become increasingly popular here in the United States (as well as in many other places around the world, at that). There are more than six and half million people (over the age of six) now participating in the sport of kick boxing, and more than three and half million people of the same age range participating on a regular basis in Tai Chi. But these methods of martial arts such as Brazilian Jiu Jitsu are certainly not modern, dating back hundreds and even thousands of years into the past. The practice of Tai Chi, for instance, has been found to go back as many as two thousand and five hundred years.

Martial arts like Brazilian Jiu Jitsu have a number of definable health benefits. For one, they promote movement, something that is severely lacking here in the United States. Unfortunately, only around five percent – less than five percent, actually – of all people (adults) get thirty minutes of exercise a day, which is the minimum recommended amount. And to make matters worse, only a third or less of all adults in the United States get enough exercise per week. For children, this is also becoming a problem, particularly with the widespread use of screens, which range from television use to cell phone use to, perhaps most commonly among young kids, tablet use. While technology certainly has its benefits and plays and important and even positive role in our society, too much of anything can be detrimental and the use of technology is no exception. As it stands today, more than two thirds of all parents in the United States – significantly more than half – are concerned about how often their children are engaged in some form of technology instead of up and moving in the world all around them. And movement is important for children in particular, as it is not only good for their physical bodies, but can actually aid in important areas of brain development, such as with the development of both fine motor skills as well as gross motor skills. Today, it is recommended that the average child who is over the age of two get at least one hour of physical activity each and every day. Unfortunately, much as is the case for adults, this does not always happen and in fact happens far less frequently than it should.

But for children and adults alike, participating in a martial art like Brazilian Jiu Jitsu or Tai Chi or even Muay Thai can provide a great way to get up and moving while building strength and connecting to your body as a whole, something that most of us are woefully lacking even if we do try to be active on a somewhat regular basis. Aside from Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Tai Chi has a number of its own health benefits. For instance, Tai Chi is often popular among communities of older adults who might not have the stamina for more vigorous practices as can be found in martial arts such as Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. The practice of Tai Chi can actually be incredibly beneficial for older Americans (as well as just about everyone else) as it has been found to help to improve strength and balance, with as many as fifty four percent of older Tai Chi participants reported. Having a greater sense of your balance becomes ever more important as you grow older and become more at risk for sustaining a fall or something of that nature.

Martial arts like Tai Chi or Brazilian Jiu Jitsu are also great for burning calories, losing weight, and building muscle. If you work hard, it is likely that you’ll burn as many as five hundred calories in just one martial arts session. In fact, it can be so effective as a weight loss method that more than two and a half million people of those who participate in martial arts such as Brazilian Jiu Jitsu do so specifically as a way to work out and get some fitness in their lives here in the U.S.

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