Losing weight isn’t just important for adults nowadays. There’s an epidemic of childhood obesity in the West, with American kids suffering in particular. The United Kingdom and other Western European countries also face the issue, however. The data is always changing, but the CDC says that between the ages of two and nineteen years old, the overall obesity rate is almost twenty percent—that’s one in five children who are not just overweight, but obese.
The health risks of obesity can be found in plenty of articles online. Increased risks of poor health outcomes—both mental and physical—are ultimately what lots of research have determined to be the danger of obesity. While exercise and general physical activity play a large in maintaining a healthy weight, they aren’t the only ways to combat childhood obesity.
If you’re searching for ways to help your child lose weight in a fun and effective manner, we’ve got great news. While people turn to martial arts for many reasons, keeping kids healthy is a major one. Here’s why martial arts might be your child’s secret weapon against obesity.
Some children who are not particularly physically fit struggle to enjoy team sports. They may not be able to perform at an average level for their age or body type in competitive sports at school, which makes these options difficult to start and sustain. When it comes to losing weight, choosing the option you’ll stick with is no less important than for children.
Martial arts practice is different from team sports because they enable every child to learn and improve at their own pace. Yes, there are exercises and drills that are done as a group, but they tend to allow for a wide margin of successful completion. Plus, instructors who are trained to teach children in martial arts—such as the expert instructors here at Premier Martial Arts—take care to help each individual child while considering their health.
There isn’t much competition among martial arts students—especially at the beginner level. The outward measure of success in martial arts for children is measured by belt tests; these are mainly made up of rehearsed forms, or katas, which the student demonstrates alone. The focus on the individual student in martial arts takes away the pressure on children who are at the start of improving their overall health. Most martial arts schools don’t allow young children to fail their tests, instead they allow them to begin their test when success is assured, giving your child the added benefit of gaining both a healthier body and more confidence.
Friends Make it Fun
While martial arts largely focuses on the individual, it also provides a social atmosphere for children with weight problems to learn and practice a physical activity together. As anyone can tell you, exercise always feels a little easier when you don’t have to do it alone.
Martial arts classes provide a social atmosphere with other children where there is little pressure to feel as advanced as other students. Instead, kids learn that being active can be fun and build relationships with other active kids. Martial arts class gives young children a sense of camaraderie and belonging without the outward pressure of a highly competitive team sport.
Don’t Fight Your Child’s Attention Span
With screens following us around all day, it can feel impossible to imagine your child spending screen-less time practicing a physical activity. Yet, martial arts have a special advantage in overcoming today’s attention-stretched environment.
For once, those hours of video game playing might actually help your child’s physical health. Since martial arts has long been a part of popular culture, including video games, the “cool factor” will make it a lot easier to convince your child to join a regular martial arts practice.
Kid Focused Classes
Most martial arts studios, including Premier Martial Arts, provide age-specific martial arts classes. Children’s martial arts classes allow instructors to make sure each child proceeds at their own pace. For young children struggling with obesity, this allows them to move at the appropriate rate of progress without feeling pressured or being unable to keep up.
Learn the Life Skills for Life-long Fitness
The discipline learned by practicing martial arts is helpful for people of all ages and body types. It’s not easy to say no to our favorite dessert or to stay consistent with a new pursuit—that’s where practice comes to the rescue.
The discipline children learn through martial arts can carry over into the classroom and even into how they regulate their eating habits. The positive feedback of martial arts training can help provide quality sleep, self-worth, and mental outlook. In turn, those can positive changes can help children become mentally and physically healthier and lose weight.
Give Your Child the Gift of a Healthy Life
Health definitely is wealth and you can make sure your child achieves that wealth by starting them out with a martial arts practice they’ll appreciate later on and for years to come. At Premier Martial Arts, we design our classes to make every child feel included and to help every child advance toward the goals that are best for them. Find a location near you to give your child the gift of life-long health.