Did you know that over 30% of children and adolescents in the US are overweight or obese? Fewer than a quarter of children get the recommended amount of physical activity a day: 60 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise. A child who is regularly physically active will be more likely to carry that habits into adulthood. On the flip side, a sedentary child will likely grow into a sedentary adult.
Children who exercise regularly tend to be healthier physically and mentally. Despite these clear benefits of exercise for kids, there is less focus on activity nowadays. Recesses are becoming shorter; P.E. classes are chronically undervalued, and children are spending more time playing online and watching TV. The obesity epidemic does affect children, to the point that some medical professionals are calling it a health crisis.
The most important thing is that kids find an exercise they enjoy and participate in regularly, be that working out, running, or team sports. Martial arts is another great option for kids. Not only will martial arts provide the physical activity they need, it also teaches essential life values and sets them up on an activity they can enjoy for the rest of their lives.
Here are some of the most popular martial arts for children:
An Olympic sport and one of the most popular martial arts of all time, taekwondo is a fantastic option for kids of any age. When it comes to the benefits of exercise for kids, taekwondo encompasses many of those benefits. Children who take part in taekwondo learn kicks, punches and throws. An important component to recognize is that you will need to buy sparring gear to begin taekwondo.
Sparring is an incredibly important facet to taekwondo. Now, if your child is competitive, he or she may love it because it does happen to be a very competitive martial art.
Karate is an old form of martial arts. In fact, it’s been around since around the 1300s! When it comes to popular martial arts, this is one of the most used and most popular globally. You don’t have to worry about any weapons. For kids who need more activity in their daily life, karate offers a full body workout. In addition, when kids learn karate, they often learn how to incorporate it into their lifestyle. One thing to note about karate is that it is not about the opponent, but instead about yourself.
If your child wants to learn striking techniques, this is the martial arts for them. Not only does it teach striking with the hands and feet, but it also takes a philosophical approach. Karate teaches balance in life. It teaches children how to live a happy and balanced life with an emphasis on physical activity. Kids can also learn how to use traditional karate weapons, like sai, bo, and nunchaku.
Brazilian jiu-jitsu has been sprinting upwards in popularity since the advent of UFC, which was created by the Gracies, the founding family of Brazilian jiu-jitsu. However, just because it is used by professional fighters doesn’t mean it isn’t also great for kids! BJJ is a great tool for teaching self-control. The analytical aspect of the sport (it’s all planning your moves in advance while constantly reevaluating that plan based on what your opponent does) also makes it great for building problem-solving skills.
A child practices Brazilian jiu-jitsu on a Versys V.SPAR.2.
This martial art revolves around the ground game. BJJ can be taught effectively without takedowns, which makes it more appealing to safety-conscious individuals (although any good children’s instructor, in any art, will go to great lengths to ensure a safe training experience!). Brazilian jiu-jitsu is a great outlet for kids who like to roughhouse, because you are even allowed to grab your opponent’s gi (uniform)! However, because it is a grappling art, kids need to be okay with physical contact and having people in their space.
If your child has quick reflexes and doesn’t mind sparring, then kung fu may be a good option. Balance and relaxation is key when it comes to kung fu. Some martial arts rely on kicks, but not this one – kung fu relies on upper body movement. If your child prefers to focus on balance or concentration, then they’ll love this option.
A child practices kung fu with help from an adult training partner.
Healthy kids need a lot of exercise and physical activity! Unfortunately, nowadays, children are not getting enough exercise. More kids are spending their time indoors. Fortunately, it is never too late for a kid to get started in martial arts. There are programs for children of all ages and all ranges of experience. No matter how young or old, you should always teach your kids the importance of being active.
Martial arts not only teach children valuable lessons, but it helps raise their activity levels and encourages a lifelong, healthy lifestyle. No matter your child’s interests or talents, there are ranges when it comes to the best martial arts for kids. You can find something that they will love.