In the United States, approximately eight million people participate in martial arts, with tae kwon do and karate being most popular. The injury rate in these activities can be high, especially in women beginning such classes. For this reason, check with your physician before beginning such a potentially vigorous activity. Investigate the various martial arts opportunities available to you locally. Some forms incorporate more person-to-person contact and sparring than others, resulting in greater rates of injury. Always wear the recommended protective gear. Be sure that the class provides the time and guidance for warm-up and cool-down routines. Naturally, take a class only if there are enough experienced individuals in the room, so that no student ever performs new or dangerous moves without proper supervision.
Even before you begin a martial arts program, it is important to boost your strength and overall fitness to a level where you are at the least possible risk for injury. One of the most important ways to do this is strength training, exercise that uses resistance, usually weights, to strengthen and condition the body and improve muscle tone and stamina. When muscles are conditioned, they act as effective shock absorbers during the kind of weight-bearing “landings” incorporated in many martial arts techniques. Because the back is intrinsically involved in many techniques, lower-back injuries—not uncommon even in the sedentary population—can more easily occur if the muscles in that area are not strengthened beforehand. While many martial arts incorporate cardiovascular exertion into their training sessions, engaging in cardiovascular training in advance will give you the capacity for endurance and make your classes that much more enjoyable. You will be less likely to feel uncomfortably exhausted after the first few sessions. Good exercises to boost your cardiovascular capacity include running, biking and stair-climbing, either outdoors or in an indoor facility. Before you start a martial arts program, consult us to design an exercise program to help you get in shape. This way, you will get the most enjoyment from this popular activity and avoid injuries and maintain your lifestyle.