Studies have shown where martial arts improve the over all health of people of all ages.
Cognitive Improvement: A 2016 study in the Journal of Sport and Health Science looked at the cognitive benefits of Karate training versus a more general fitness program such as going to the gym or running. There were three groups for the study. One group did general exercise programs, a control group that did not conduct exercise, and a group that participated in a Karate program. Only the karate group showed improvement in attentiveness, reaction time, and mental resilience under stress. The study believes that karate's specific blend of aerobics, balance, and coordination have particularly beneficial effect on the brain.
Balance, Strength, Endurance: A review paper published in 2014 in the journal Societies, looked at four studies that included 112 people over the age of 40 who participated in karate. All the studies indicated improvements in balance and the ability to stand for a longer period on one leg, as well as reaction time. The studies also compared fitness levels of middle-ages adults who regularly did karate versus those who had very little physical activity in their lifestyle. Those in the martial arts group, who studied at least twice a week had greater strength, balance, flexibility, and aerobic capacity and less body fat.
Fall Reduction: In 2016 a study in the Journal of the American Geriatric Society older adults with recent injuries from falls were randomized to either participate in Martial Arts or do leg stregthingm exercises for six months. Those who participated in Martial Arts were significantly less likely to fall, and significantly less likely to be injured if they did fall, compared with those in the leg strengthening group.
Your Child's Weight: Karate is an effective intervention to weight gain. According to estimates from Harvard Health Publishing, a 125 pound person burns about 600 calories in an hour of martial arts practice. If your child participates comes to class twice a week and eats an appropriate diet, they will burn approximately 2 pounds of body fat per month and additionally have healthy muscle gain from the exercise and activities. As anyone who has attempted to diet and exercise can attest to, a lifestyle change can be difficult. If your child discovers Karate and loves it as part of their life, you could be introducing them to a long-term solution that promotes health and activity for years to come, even beyond high school. The ability to continue beyond the school years makes karate different than most other sports or activities your child might experience during their academic years.
Physical Activity: It is obvious that Karate is a physical activity. Did you know that by participating in Karate they are meeting the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) physical activity recommendations for adults. DHHS recommends more activity for children than adults but if your child participates in Karate class in addition to playing outside or gym class they meet the recommendations for children between the ages of 6 and 17.
Children on the Spectrum: If your child is on the autism spectrum, there's a good possibility that participating in Karate will have a positive effect on the autism-related symptoms. A systematic review published in the May 2017 issues of Archives of Budo found that practicing martial arts had a medium to high positive effect on multiple symptoms of autism spectrum disorder, including social interaction and communication skills, self-regulation, memory, cognitive function and postural control.