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Opinion:
The Best Anti-aging Formula

By Christopher Caile

You hear it and see ads in magazines, in TV commercials and in a slew of e-mails addressed to you. The messages come in many forms, but they all declare some form of "anti-aging formula, something guaranteed to make you younger" - from Europe, Asia, ancient Egypt or some forgotten secret.

In fact the best formula, the only true one for anti-aging, is right in front of you all the time: your training. Your ongoing martial arts practice, no matter the art or style, as long as it is practiced continuously a couple of times per week for at least an hour, helps you maintain (or reclaim) your body and maximize its health.

Of course, martial arts isn't a panacea, and it won't cancel out bad eating habits or injuries from debilitating training, but it will maintain the body and mind at any age.

As you age you might reduce your workout, limit hard contact and may have some physical limitations, but I know a number of karate-ka who are in their 60's and 70's and still continue to train regularly.

So what are some of the health benefits?

Mentally, martial arts reduce stress and anxiety while also producing a positive self-image and building confidence.

Regular stretching and joint movement exercises common to most martial arts maximize the range of motion of joints and the ability to freely and loosely move as you age. There is an old adage that plants and trees die from the roots first, and it is the same with humans. Stretching and moving the joints keeps the legs limber and exercise strengthens or at least maintains muscle strength. Motion can also counter the effect of the onset of arthritis, especially in the hips where people restrict their range of motion in response to feeling pain - a downward cycle of self-restriction that can actually add to the ultimate effect of arthritis. Regular exercise also helps to maintain a healthy cardio-vascular system.

Chronic hip, knee and ankle problems can be painful, and it is only natural to want to limit physical activity. But to do so often only acerbates it. Correctly practiced martial arts can help offset these conditions or at least minimize their effects.

So keep moving, keep doing those sit ups, push ups and other exercises, keep doing kata, or tai chi, keep throwing in judo or practicing joint locks in jujutsu. Your body follows and adapts, and you keep your vitality.

Your body is the most important asset you have. Without physical health, wealth, material goods, position or fame mean nothing. So don’t wither and dry up from not practicing. Against the physical limitations that come with age, your practice becomes your best self-defense.

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About the Author:

Christopher Caile is the Founder and Editor-In-Chief of FightingArts.com. He has been a student of the martial arts for over 43 years. He first started in judo. Then he added karate as a student of Phil Koeppel in 1959. Caile introduced karate to Finland in 1960 and then hitch-hiked eastward. In Japan (1961) he studied under Mas Oyama and later in the US became a Kyokushinkai Branch Chief. In 1976 he followed Kaicho Tadashi Nakamura when he formed Seido karate and is now a 6th degree black belt in that organization's honbu dojo. Other experience includes aikido, diato-ryu aikijujutsu, kenjutsu, kobudo, Shinto Muso-ryu jodo, kobudo, boxing and several Chinese fighting arts including Praying mantis, Pak Mei (White Eyebrow) and shuai chiao. He is also a student of Zen. A long-term student of one branch of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Qigong, he is a personal disciple of the qi gong master and teacher of acupuncture Dr. Zaiwen Shen (M.D., Ph.D.) and is Vice-President of the DS International Chi Medicine Association. He holds an M.A. in International Relations from American University in Washington D.C. and has traveled extensively through South and Southeast Asia. He frequently returns to Japan and Okinawa to continue his studies in the martial arts, their history and tradition. In his professional life he has been a businessman, newspaper journalist, inventor and entrepreneur.


To find more articles of interest, search on one of these keywords:

anti-aging, martial arts, training, physical benefits of martial arts training


Read more articles by Christopher Caile

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