You know that studying martial arts classes provide an aerobic workout. What might surprise you is that it tones muscles, too. A lot of people associate muscle toning with lifting weights or – in the case of abdominal muscles – doing crunches. And sometimes they make the mistake of thinking that studying martial arts has nothing to do with toning and building muscles. That’s not the case. In a martial arts class, students learn through repetitive movements. They create muscle memory. Those repetitions help tone muscles without bulking them up. Everyone can benefit from having strong muscles. There’s another element to martial arts I want to talk about, as well. When people study martial arts, what they’re learning is that they can leverage their body weight. That’s true whether they’re learning how to break a board with their fist or foot, or learning how to flip an opponent in competition. In fact, a small person can sometimes win out over a much larger person who doesn’t understand how to leverage their weight in a fight. It’s impressive to watch – and it’s something your child or you can learn.
People with lean muscles tend to burn more calories than those with a lot of body fat. So, toning muscles is actually a key component of weight loss. Now, some people who study martial arts also lift weights and do other toning exercises – and that's okay. But even if all you or your child does is take regular martial arts classes, they’ll be toning their muscles and decreasing their body fat. Those things are both important for good health. As a side note, sometimes women or parents of girls are concerned when I talk about building muscles. Studying martial arts doesn’t build bulky muscles. You need to lift heavy weights and repeatedly tear the muscles for that to happen. Instead, it simply shapes the muscles. People who study martial arts have good muscle tone, not bulky muscles.