Martial arts (e.g., karate, taekwondo) are a great form of exercise that recently has been advocated for due to its reported ability to help increase youth concentration and attention in addition to being a good workout.
As reported by the British Psychological Society, a recent meta-analysis looked at how martial arts is related to youth aggression; based off of 12 research studies, martial arts appears to have a medium-sized effect on reducing youth aggression. Martial arts was apparently just as effective for boys and girls and regardless of age. More research needs to be conducted to determine which components of martial arts make it effective, although it seems like that it should include a meditation or mindfulness component to help increase self-control.
We know that physical fitness is very important to our health, including as we age. As such, it makes sense that going to a fitness center or gym is associated with living a longer, healthier life. However the reason for this is not only because of physical exercise.
As reported by the Washington Post, the social relationships that people develop at fitness centers appear to be just as important for living a long life as the physical benefits of working out. This is especially true for seniors who may have reduced social circles and are more likely to be isolated from others. As such, fitness centers can serve a two-in-one function of providing social contact and a place to exercise.
Given the benefits of fitness centers, it will be interesting to see future fitness centers focus both on physical fitness and ways to encourage socializing, potentially with meeting areas or cafes attached to the fitness center. The enjoyment that comes from spending time with others at the gym could also serve as a powerful reinforcer to keep you going back week after week, which is a win-win situation. Moral of the story, do not feel guilty about a post-workout activity such as grabbing a quick bite with your fitness partner, it is good for your health!
The Clinically Relevant Insights Blog, part of ShawnWilsonPhD.com, shares news and research regarding psychology and wellness.