Throughout time, people have been under the impression that as you age, you become limited with the things you can do, physically. As a result, senior citizens often become more reclusive, staying in their homes, dabbling only in less active endeavors.
And while we are in no way saying that these activities are not enriching or helpful for the elderly, it is best to question the assumption that older people can no longer engage in more physically challenging activities.
For example, if you peruse through the millions of photos on your Instagram discover wall, you’d see elderly people, well into their 60s or so, still physically fit and are in fact lifting weights, doing marathons, or even competing in some form of physical or sports competition.
The Rise of Martial Arts for Senior Citizens
In recent years, Martial Arts has fast become a popular activity for adults of all ages, including advanced age.. And some even go beyond the regular exploratory level and really dive deep into the craft. Apart from Tai Chi, which has always been popular among the elderly in Asian culture, grandparents are now engaging in more active and physically strenuous pursuits like Martial Arts.
The obvious reason for the rise is the health benefits that Martial Arts offers. It’s not rocket science to know that when you are able to extend yourself a healthy amount - not forcing or overdoing it - you can still work your muscles and train your body to be strong, quick and agile well into your supposed twilight years.
Because of technology, age is certainly becoming just a number. So more and more older people are taking up basic taekwondo, karate, and other styles because it helps invigorate them. The benefits include better blood circulation, improved breathing and stronger immune systems as results of their martial arts training.
Another element that is greatly improved by Martial Arts is the mental health of senior citizens. While no study has yet to directly link engaging in martial arts and avoiding senility, Alzheimer’s or other related mental deterioration, the constant brain activity caused by doing these physical exercises may help the elderly become more responsive. Their motor skills continue to be at a peak level even when their peers - who are not into martial arts - seem to show signs of mental degradation.
Don’t Underestimate the Elderly!
Of course, seniors also try and enhance their martial arts skills for another practical reason: self-defense. The elderly are the most targeted age segment when it comes to crimes and fraud. They are the helpless victims who cannot protect themselves, thus they may find themselves preyed upon by criminals looking for an easy target.”
But through martial arts, older people could at least protect themselves and offer a basic level of self-defense. Knowing martial arts gives them more confidence to face a perpetrator and ward off potential danger.
Health in the time of Covid-19 and Self-Isolation
The world has now experienced the devastation caused by the pandemic known as Covid-19. And sadly, senior citizens have gotten the short end of the stick once again.
Known as co-morbidities or those that are most susceptible to the virus, senior citizens all over the world have been banned from going out to public places and have been instructed to self-isolate in their homes to avoid catching the virus.
While this policy is quite understandable and should be seen as a positive move towards containing the virus and preserving lives, the mental effect caused by restrained social contact is yet to be seen in our beloved elderly.
That is where the beauty of martial arts comes in. Training in martial arts can be done in solitude, in the comfort of their own homes. In fact, if you want to take meditation seriously - which is a strict mental practice often found in martial arts, then you should really be in isolation to prevent getting distracted.
Keeping ourselves physically and mentally healthy through martial arts is now a necessity. More than having a sense of fulfillment, engaging in martial arts unlocks insights and age-old learnings that senior citizens, and frankly people of all ages, will find helpful for daily living.