5 Ways Combat Sports Can Improve Your Mental Health

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The world is becoming increasingly more stressful or Mental Health; if it isn’t a worldwide pandemic, it’s TV production companies going rogue and adding to the ever-growing entertainment subscription lists – Netflix, Hulu, Disney Plus; how does one choose?!

The stress of being a resident of Planet Earth is why humans must take charge of their mental state and continue the march towards mental awareness that’s been witnessed globally in recent years.

Sure, combat sports may not be the first thing you think of when looking for a place of relaxation and mental bliss. You could run countless miles on a treadmill for those beautiful endorphins, but the challenge is simply surviving them. However, combat sports bring a set of dynamic challenges, which may sound complex – but in reality, these sports are far less boring than traditional exercise and much more beneficial to your mental state for several reasons.

Stress Relief

Combat is dynamic and full of ups and downs when expelling your energy. Many seasoned pros discuss the benefits they receive in life from this aspect, such as the simple act of deep breathing. This control over your energy levels is similar to meditation, leading to a more conscious experience.

Of course, the art of multitasking in combat sports is sure to become a much calmer experience when you’re consistently training your mind to prioritize where you will strike next and gain a better understanding of focusing your energy. Decorated Jiu-Jitsu instructor Flavio Almeida once said, “Martial arts help people to lead calmer, more self-possessed lives. This happens for several reasons, one being mindfulness”.

Self Esteem

Whereas traditional exercise can be monotonous with very straightforward goals, combat exercises are the opposite. Granted, you are challenging yourself physically and likely implementing many conventional techniques; however, what you’re doing in practice is challenging yourself mentally.

You are fighting to win, training to hone a skill, and competing, which means you are likely to win and lose. This element of jeopardy will make you far more resilient when life gets tough, naturally increasing your confidence going into difficult situations in and out of the gym.

Physical Exercise

Those endorphins previously mentioned cannot hide from mixed martial arts! The increase in endorphin production gained from any form of exercise is a tried and tested way to increase your mental stability. The endorphins produced can help you achieve a sense of bliss and are released when your body feels pain or stress. These ‘happy hormones’ block these negative feelings, thereby helping you survive whatever you’re enduring.

The idea people can access endorphins through the art of exercise is like a cherry on the cake when pushing mental capabilities.

Self Defense

Let’s be honest; nobody knows what’s around the corner. As fulfilling as it can be to shed excess fat and rock a new outfit, the world isn’t perfect; there are dangers no matter where you go. Still, the reassurance of knowing you are capable of defending yourself can ward off the most anxious of thoughts.

In fact, many women are taking up combat sports for these reasons. Female boxing has seen an increase of 17% participation between the years 2015 and 2020, showing that women and girls are exhibiting a keen interest in combat sports.

Although the fitness and glory aspect is enough motivation, the true art of combat sports can give you mental security in a world where one in three women worldwide has experienced physical abuse. Companies such as Fightcitygym.co.uk have women’s self-defense classes specifically designed for this reason and are growing in popularity among the female population.

Anxiety and Depression

Anxiety and depression are two mental stumbling blocks dragged into the open of recent years, which is where physical activity – such as combat sports – comes in. Amazingly, combat sports are even shown to release pent-up energy and expel aggression, as well as offer the common benefits of exercise, such as stress relief and endorphin production.

Usually, doctors advise patients to participate in exercise when tackling mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, and other issues. Plus, the ability to make calm, calculated decisions are all part of combat sports, which can translate to real life when dealing with mental struggles.

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