Can Studying the Martial Arts Lead to Healthier Habits?

Can Studying the Martial Arts Lead to Healthier Habits?

Martial arts training is an effective way for people of all ages, from young children to seniors, to get in shape and lead a healthy lifestyle. While that might not surprise you, it may surprise you to learn that martial arts practice can lead to healthier habits in almost every area of life.

Martial arts disciplines such as Karate, Tae Kwon Do, Muay Thai, and Judo, all have certain things in common. These include providing students and expert practitioners with an array of physical, mental, and emotional health benefits to help them build healthy habits.

How Can Martial Arts Training Build Healthy Physical Habits?

Let’s start with physical habits. Here are some of the ways that martial arts help build good physical habits.

Regular Exercise

The first healthy habit you can build with martial arts training is the habit of regular exercise. Signing up for a class means that you’ll be learning martial arts skills at the same time you incorporate exercise into your daily or weekly routine.

Practicing martial arts provides you with all the health benefits of exercise. Many martial arts students learn that they feel their best when they get regular exercise and pursue it outside of their martial arts classes.


Self-discipline is a healthy habit that can impact your physical health as well as your mental and emotional wellness. Many martial arts students learn about healthy eating habits and do a better job of disciplining themselves to get proper nutrition between workouts.

Self-discipline is also useful when it comes to sticking to any fitness regimen or wellness habit. In other words, this is a habit that encourages other healthy habits, too!

Martial Arts Training and Healthy Mental Habits

Building healthy mental habits is just as important as building physical ones. One of the things that makes it beneficial to learn martial arts is that it builds a strong mind-body connection that can improve your mental health.

Mental Discipline

We already talked about the physical discipline to exercise, but martial arts training also creates the habit of mental discipline. 

Students need mental discipline to push through a tough workout (or a tough day at school or on the job.)

Goal Setting

A related habit is the habit of setting (and achieving) life goals. One of the things that’s hard-coded into martial arts is the concept of constant improvement: kaizen in Japanese. Students learn skills and build on them, always working toward a new belt or stripe.

Setting goals is a healthy habit that can help you in every area of life, including school, work, relationships, and self-improvement.

Martial Arts and Healthy Emotional Habits

Controlling emotions is something that people of all ages must learn to do. One of the great benefits of martial arts classes is that students learn how to channel their emotions into positive actions. Here are two healthy emotional habits you can gain from martial arts.


Self-reflection is the ability to take a step back from your emotions and look at them as an observer would. Uncontrolled emotions can be dangerous on the mat because a student who is governed by their emotions is likely to be impulsive instead of intentional.

As you learn to channel negative emotions, doing so will become a habit that you carry with you wherever you go.

Stress Reduction

Finally, learning how to manage stress is essential, since we all experience stress sometimes. With the physical activity of a martial arts workout comes a natural reduction in stress.

Students who study the martial arts learn to recognize the positive impact that training has on their minds and bodies. Over time, they learn to use their training to minimize stress and anxiety.

As you can see, practicing martial arts can help you form an array of healthy habits that can positively impact every area of your life.


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