It's well known that physical activity has numerous benefits to both the body and the mind. Below are some of the specific areas in which aikido can improve your general health and well-being.
Aikido involves a lot of movement. During the course of training people generally find that they become much more flexible as they move their body more.
Aikido training will help you improve your stamina. Training starts off slowly in the beginning but as you improve your techniques you start to do them faster. Faster movement leads to improved cardio and better stamina.
Working out will make you stronger. Although we aren't using weights, and rely on our training partners momentum, it doesn't change the fact that most aikido techniques end with at least one person on the ground. You have to stand up, a lot. Aikido is a whole body workout, you'll use all your muscles in all the sessions.
Having good posture is vitally important for all aikido techniques. The training will naturally make you aware of when you're slouching and by how much. You'll begin to correct this in your daily life and stand up straighter. This has numerous benefits for your overall health, such as:
- Keeps bones and joints in the correct alignment so that muscles are being used properly.
- Helps decrease the abnormal wearing of joint surfaces.
- Decreases the stress on the ligaments holding the joints of the spine together.
- Prevents the spine from becoming fixed in abnormal positions.
- Prevents fatigue because muscles are being used more efficiently, allowing the body to use less energy.
- Prevents backache and muscular pain.
- Contributes to a good appearance.
Learning a martial art like aikido will instill a sense of confidence in you. When you combine this with an improved posture you radiate confidence whether you feel it or not.
As you progress through the grades towards a black belt and beyond you'll gain a great sense of achievement, not just in your rank but in the changes that you've wrought in your body. Achieving a rank in a martial art is a serious achievement that requires dedication, mental fortitude, commitment and physical determination.
Aikido techniques involve using your whole body, not just an arm. The training will give you an increased sense of what your limbs are doing, and radically improve your 'other' side. All techniques are practiced equally on both sides taking you a long way towards being ambidextrous. The biggest effect of this is that aikidoka generally stop bumping into things.
Greater Awareness of Surroundings
As well as reducing your clumsiness you'll pay more attention to your environment. Certain techniques and training methods in aikido are designed to increase your awareness of what's going on around you. In the Japanese martial arts this is known as zanshin.
You'll find it difficult to train without other people. Aikido dojos provide you with a community of like-minded people all working towards a similar goal. You'll quickly make friends with training partners.
New Holiday Ideas
Seminars! If you want to train with some of the best aikidoka in the world you have to be prepared to travel a bit. It's not unusual to discover that some of your annual leave is now devoted to attending the odd weekend course with that sensei you just have to train with. We've made many friends in different countries by heading to a regular course taught by specific sensei. Belgium, Holland, Cyprus and Ireland all spring to mind.
There is some evidence that the whole body awareness engendered by aikido can aid in the recovery of PTSD.