Boost your physical fitness and self esteem with Martial Arts

Improve Your Physical Fitness And Self-Esteem With Martial Arts

Once you decide to become more fit, a whole world of choices becomes available to you. The hardest issue oftentimes turns out to be discovering the best method to be motivated until the benefits become apparent. It is a fact that many good intentions to begin an exercise program are abandoned through not really thinking about choosing an activity that is both enjoyable and yet gives us the discipline to continue when the novelty wears off. One exercise type you may not have considered is martial arts although this is an area which is easier than ever to get involved in. Read on if you want to discover some of the benefits you will experience when you engage in different forms of martial arts.

The most well-known types of martial arts are those that may be thought to be the harder type of disciplines such as Karate and Taekwondo. We use the “harder” because these disciplines stress physical conditioning over mental conditioning. In a lot of cases, men and women attend these types of classes because of the self-defense aspect which, obviously, is a good reason to get involved. Still, following these training methods will unquestionably improve your overall physical fitness and conditioning. This is because you have to have your body to be flexible and your muscles strong to advance to a higher level.

These martial arts classes give a sense of discipline and encourage you to strive for each new level of training while encouraging you to be mentally strong. At every level, you earn a different colored belt and this keeps you working to obtain the coveted black belt status. Taking part in martial arts competitions will encourage you to continue with your training. Ultimately, the level of fitness you will achieve with these types of martial arts and the strength you will feel is tough to match with any other type of exercise.

With some of the gentler types of martial arts like Tai Chi and Chi Kung, you will feel improvements to your health in the form of more energy and feeling better generally. These are often seen as meditating while moving and you will definitely experience the benefits in your mind which can help with stress and anxiety. But you can also expect to improve your shape since these movements were designed to help energy move throughout the body.

The health benefits of martial arts will be seen in your life outside of the training you do. The qualities of discipline and respect will help to improve your career prospects and human relationships. The training is founded on inner and outer strength which can provide you with a much more full feeling of health and fitness when compared to other kinds of training.

Hence, martial arts may be just the solution to help you improve both your fitness and self-esteem.

There has been much controversy over the years about which martial arts style is the best, or most lethal. I remember back to when I first started my training in 1975 it seems everyone thought there was an ultimate fighting style out there some where. When I started training in Tang Soo Do, now known as Soo Bak Do in some circles, people used to ask me what the best martial arts style was. I told them Tang Soo Do. Hey, admit it, everyone wants to think they are part of the best thing going don’t they? Sure they do, it’s human nature. No one wants to be part of something that is considered inferior. And the masters of the individual styles are and were proud of their accomplishments and the art they chose to devote themselves to, so it is only natural for them to tell their students how fortunate they are to have found the best school available.

In recent years mixed martial arts has gained popularity with the masses. And once again I hear people saying that it is the ultimate fighting art. However, you need to remember that even in MMA there are rules, and therefore still not “the real thing” in terms of an actual street confrontation. In the street, when you are fighting for your life or the life of a loved one, there are no rules. Small joint locks, eye gouging, groin smashing, and biting a good sized chunk of flesh off your attackers body is perfectly acceptable. In other words, you do whatever it takes to survive and walk away.

When you begin to try and number the different styles of fighting systems you see pretty quick that there are hundreds, maybe even thousands of styles. I have heard it said that there are over 300 different styles of kung fu alone; and they are divided into the northern and southern styles. Some are considered hard styles while others are considered soft styles. In the Japanese, Korean and Okinawan systems there are both hard and soft styles. Some major in stand up techniques with kicking, kneeing, elbowing and striking as their main arsenal of weapons. Others major in grappling, throwing and joint locking techniques as their main area of expertise. Others still have combined some of both for what they believe is a “more balanced” system of self defense. So which is best?
I believe there is no best style of martial art. I believe the secret to being a superior martial artist lies within the individual. When you stop to think about it, all styles are teaching basically the same thing in a general way. How to defend and attack, hopefully in a way that brings you out on top as quickly as possible. I believe that there are poor, average, good and very good instructors out there and always has been.. The quality of instructor you train under makes a big difference. I believe the same holds true for students. If you have ever studied martial arts you know by now that you get out of it what you put into it. If you just train two days a week and that’s all, you aren’t ever going to be very good. This is an art. An art has to be cultivated and developed over consistent practice.
Everyone knows that in the world of art there are bad painters, good painters and there are exceptional painters. Its the same in martial arts. Even in the same gym it is rare when you find two people in the same rank that are equally proficient. I have always competed in “open” tournaments against martial artist of all kinds of styles. There is no one style that dominates. It all boils down to the man/woman, the artist. Who has developed his skills the most is the one that will come out on top.

You also have to consider things like an individuals pain threshold, how much heart and determination he has, etc. Then there is that thing called “luck”. I’ve often said I’d rather be lucky than good any day. And, have you ever heard of a fellow called “Murphy”? He seems to follow me everywhere I go. The truth is that anybody can be beat. It just takes the right circumstances or timing. An experienced fighter knows this all too well.

You may not agree with this. That’s fine, it’s your prerogative. But after over 36 years in the arts I have come to embrace this belief wholeheartedly. I think that if you will look around, watch and observe for as long as I have you will come to believe this way too. I appreciate all of the martial arts. I believe each system has valuable techniques and philosophies. I believe they all have things that aren’t so valuable too. Bottom line, there is no ultimate martial art. It’s all about you baby. Train hard, train often, don’t take shortcuts, be the best YOU can be.

High protein foods are good for your heart

“You gotta be kidding” is probably the first thing that will cross your mind upon reading the title of this post. And you’re probably right. After all, we think of meat, eggs and cheese as some of the primary sources of protein. And they have another thing in common: they can also happen to be bad for the heart.

A report from Harvard Medical School, however, says that there is such a thing as a high-protein diet that’s heart-healthy at the same time. United Press International gives us the details:

Traditional high-protein diets are heart killers, clogging the arteries with saturated fat from meat, eggs and cheese, but, according to a report from Harvard Medical School, a large study shows that there is such a thing as a heart-healthy, high-protein diet that can lower harmful LDL cholesterol, triglycerides and blood pressure.

The diet, described in Healthy Eating: A Guide to the New Nutrition, offers a healthful alternative from the several studied in the OmniHeart trial.

The heart-healthy, high-protein diet included foods from both animal and plant sources that are lower in saturated fat. Along with chicken and fish, dietary sources of protein include nuts, beans, whole-grain cereals and fat-free dairy products.

Sorry, but steak, eggs and cheese still aren’t on the menu for a healthy heart.

Low-fat foods can make you gain weight

Many people believe that binging on food with the words “low fat” labeled on them is not fattening, that they could eat as much as they want as long as it’s low fat.

Two recent studies, however, beg to disagree. According to Cornell researchers, these low fat snacks are actually making you pack on the pounds. Zee News tells us more:

In two studies conducted by Cornell researchers, the team found that people eat an average of 28 percent more total calories when they eat low-fat snacks than regular ones.

“Obese people can eat up to 45% more,” reports lead researcher Brian Wansink (Ph.D.), in the book, Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think.

Wansink revealed the reason behind this is just because some foods say low-fat, they don`t necessarily mean low-calories.

“People don`t realize that low-fat foods are not always low-calorie foods,” Wansink said.

Fat is often replaced with sugar. Low-fat snacks are an average of 11 percent lower in calories, but people wrongly believe they are around 40 percent lower.

Yikes. Better go easy on those low fat crackers, cookies and cream cheese then. .

Men and premature deaths

It is a general fact that men have shorter life span than women. Dig through some health sites for some explanation about that fact because I am not going to post that here anymore. This is the bad news, and bad news doesn’t deserve that much space in this post. Let’s focus on the good news, shall we?

The good news is, the factors that most threaten men’s lives, ergo the shorter life span, are largely preventable. Statistics show that nearly 80 percent of male deaths are largely attributed to just ten causes. Knowing these causes and how to avoid them can help a lot to promote healthy living among men which would then in turn, allow them to live longer.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention points to heart disease and cancer as the top men-killers of today. Other causes of male deaths include stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes, influenza and pneumonia, suicide, kidney disease, Alzheimer’s disease and unintentional injuries such as car crashes, poisoning or workplace injuries.

The experts of Mayo Clinic have formulated risk reduction strategies to combat these leading killers of men. Exercising, eating better, cutting alcohol intake, quitting smoking and having regular preventive health screening with a physician are some of the recommended tips.

Premature deaths among men might have also been caused by inherited traits and male sex hormones. Certain lifestyle behaviors may prove to be one of the causes of these premature deaths. Statistics show that men are more likely to smoke, drink, use illicit drugs, and engage in casual sex than are women. Men are also more likely to take risks as they are more aggressive than women. This aggressive behavior in men supports the fact why they have a higher risk of dying from accidents, suicide and homicide.

By recognizing the factors that affect their lives, men can take steps in order to reduce the risks of premature deaths from these common causes. That is, if men ever want to really live longer.

Fish oil may help the elderly preserve thinking ability

Nobody wants to grow old and lose his grip of reality. Alzheimer’s disease is one dreaded condition of the elderly and surely, everyone wants to be spared from, that along with hair loss and some other old-age concerns.

Fortunately, there is a huge chance for us folks to evade that unsightly path and grow old with our brain cells still intact.

Studies show that high blood levels of omage-3 highly unsaturated fatty acids, found in fish oil, may help preserve thinking ability in the elderly. This is according to the findings of two studies published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Evidence suggests that diets that include omega-3 fatty acids, specifically eicosapentaenoic acid or EPA and docosahexaenoic acid or DHA, protect against the development of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. This is according to a Dutch research team who conducted several experiments.

Dr. Boukje Maria van Gelder, from the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment in Bilthoven, and associates evaluated data for 210 healthy men who were 79 to 89 years old. Their diets were assessed and the team found out that subject who ate fish had a slower decline in cognitive function that subjects who did not eat fish.

Van Gelder’s team recommends the daily consumption of roughly 400 mg of EPA and DHA, in order to somehow prevent dementia and Alzheimer’s from taking place. Food like fish, meat, eggs, leeks, and cereal products are good sources of this healthy fat.

Timid guys die younger

A study conducted over 30 years on thousands of men showed that timid guys are 50 percent more likely to die from a heart disease or stroke.

Doctors have no idea why this happens, but they admit that shy men are more likely to be stressed out when they encounter unfamiliar situations.

The study was backed by Elsevier medical publishers. The figures released by the research are said to suggest that it may be the best interest for men to go out to the pub, go dancing or do dinner with friends. Their life might depend on it.

The health of more than 2,000 men was tracked by the researchers from Northwestern University for over three decades. The study started with subjects ages 40 and 55 who filled in questionnaires designed to set their levels of sociability. By the end of the study 60 percent of the subjects died and the analysts compared the questionnaire results with the death certificate details. The result of the analysis shows that that there is a clear link between shyness and heart disease.

Findings pointed out that the shyest men were 50 percent more likely to have died of a heart attack or stroke than most outgoing men. However, there was no link between sociability and other diseases. It isn’t clear though why unsociable men are likely to have heart problems.

One possibility is that shy men lead more sheltered lives and so they find new and unfamiliar situations more stressful. Also, the part of the brain that controls the day-to-day processes of the heart may also be involved in setting personality traits.

Lastly, research at Glasgow University has also suggested that men who are in touch with their feminine side are less likely to have heart attacks. It found that ‘new men’ who expressed their feelings were healthier than those who bottled up their emotions.

Red wine protects men against prostate cancer

A new research has discovered that men who drink an average of four to seven glasses of red wine per week are only 52% likely to have prostate cancer compared with those who do not drink red wine at all. This finding is published in the June 2007 issue of Harvard Men’s Health Watch. Furthermore, red wine is also found to particularly protect the body against advanced or aggressive cancers.

The research collected various information about many factors that might influence the risk of prostate cancer in men between ages 40 and 64. One of the factors involved is alcohol consumption. Initially, the results for alcohol consumption are quite similar to the many findings of many studies done previously: There was no relationship between overall consumption and risk of prostate cancer.

However, scientists didn’t stop there. They evaluated each type of alcoholic beverage independently. And then the surprise came in. Wine drinking was linked to a reduced risk of prostate cancer. White wine was also tested and was compared with red. The findings reveal that red wine is much better in protecting the prostate against cancer. Drinking even low amounts appeared to help, and for every glass of red wine added per week, the relative risk declined by 6%.

Doctors are still perplexed about the findings. They don’t have an exact scientific explanation as to why red wine gives such benefit. However, much of the speculation focuses on chemicals such as various flavonoids and resveratrol which are found in red wine but are missing in other alcoholic beverages. These chemicals are considered antioxidants and some appear to counterbalance androgens, the male hormones that stimulate the prostate.

The Harvard Men’s Health Watch notes that men who enjoy alcohol and can drink in moderation may benefit from a lower risk of heart attack, stroke, diabetes, and cardiac death.

Being moderately overweight is not that bad at all, study says

If you think that being a fat ass makes you a miserable hag then you better think twice. There’s a new study determined to give you hope.

Researchers from the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia found Americans who are 5 to 10 kilos overweight are less likely to die of heart disease and cancers. A whhhhaaat?!!

This really sounds freaky but this new study really gets on the nerves of some health experts for sure.

The research findings also reveal that those lucky overweights may also be spared from death caused by breast, kidney, pancreatic and colon cancer.

Dr. Katherine Flegal, the lead author of the study said that her team found that overweight was associated with a significantly reduced number of deaths from the aforementioned causes.

The study performed analysis on the statistics of about 2.4 million U.S. adults collected between 1971 and 2004. The researchers are surprised to find that being overweight may be protective from other causes of death not commonly associated to excess weight namely tuberculosis and Alzheimer’s disease.

However, the study finds that overweight people still have a higher chance of dying from diabetes and kidney diseases.

Also, the same case still exists for obese people – those who are more than 15 kilos overweight. The study says that they still have a higher risk of death from a variety of illnesses including some cancers and heart disease. Moreover, there are about 400 million grossly overweight people around the world, according to the World Health Organization.

But then again, the researchers are aware that this latest findings might be used as an excuse for an unhealthy lifestyle. That’s why Dr. Flegal has this to say:

“I would like to emphasize that our study does not change the basic public health recommendations. You should eat right, get some activity, and do not smoke. Nothing about our study changes those recommendations.”

Guide to Yoga for Men

We live in a stressful world – beating deadlines and the rush hour. If you belong to the middle-class, you are exposed to the worst stress than any other human being. You have the bills to attend to, obligations at work and at home to take care of, aside from the fact that you have other commitments and responsibilities that need to accomplish. Seems like a hard and tough life huh. But this is really true also to most people of the elite group.

And when it comes to the battle of the sexes, men are said to be the most exposed to stress than the female counterpart. Why? Well, guys tend to be more competitive so that alone brings enough stress already to be at the top of the game.

This is the reason why men are becoming interested in yoga these days; which is good actually, since yoga brings forth a lot of good things to the mind and body, thereby improving the overall health condition of a person.

According to physicians, yoga is good for men as stress-reliever and at the same time as a great way to prevent heart disease, depression, and high blood pressure. Aside from that, Yoga enthusiasts like Dr. Julio Kuperman of St. Agnes Medical Center, said that can do a lot of great things to the body.

Yoga has much to offer men of any age, too, Kuperman says. It is one of the few physical activities that has a “de-compacting” effect on the body.

Kuperman added that this is essential to counter the effects of gravity associated with activities such as running or jogging.

Dr. Kuperman even encouraged men to incorporate you into their existing daily routines.

There are several fitness centers that offers yoga sessions and fitness training. It is then best for men to try to participate in these activities in order to boost health and promote well-being.

Jogging can hold back the years

We know that exercise really brings good things to our physical health. But this new finding brings in another benefit exercise gives especially to those who are trying to defy aging.

Jogging or cycling through middle age can actually delay ageing by 12 years. Researchers claim that taking a regular exercises could help stop the biological clock and delay ageing by up to 12 years.

Keeping yourself fit by jogging or cycling through middle age and beyond can slow down or even reverses the decline in muscle power, balance, and coordination in later life.

Maximum aerobic power in men falls by up to half between ages 20 and 60 without regular workouts. When this happens, older men and women will find simple everyday activities “intolerably fatiguing.”

In order to address this, cardiovascular training is recommended. Such activities (jogging and cycling) strengthen the heart and lungs and it would compensate for the onset of middle age, the time when the body is losing the capacity to use oxygen and generate energy.

Researchers found that a relatively high-intensity aerobic exercise over a relatively long period of time could boost maximal aerobic power by 25 percent.

However, a recent survey revealed that one-quarter of men and women do not take moderate or vigorous physical activity. This is why health problems are very likely to take place because people take exercise for granted.

The findings also added that regular jogging or cycling can cut the risk of health problems such as diabetes, depression, and heart disease. It also reduces the chances of premature death from any illness.