Teens can combat future heart attacks with martial arts

January 9, 2014

Teens can take part in martial arts to avoid health problems down the road.

Teenagers are old enough to take control of their health. After learning about the findings from a recent study conducted by Professor Peter Nordström​ and his team at  Umeå University in Sweden, it may be a good idea for teens to get involved in martial arts classes or some other aerobic activity.

The research found a direct correlation between a person’s fitness as a teenager and the risk of having a heart attack 30 to 40 years down the road. In fact, when studying 743,498 Swedish men, Nordström​’s research revealed that every 15 percent increase in aerobic fitness was linked to an roughly 18 percent reduced risk of a heart attack. In addition, regular cardiovascular training for teens was associated with an approximately 35 percent lower risk of suffering from an early heart attack.

“Our findings suggest that high aerobic fitness in late adolescence may reduce the risk of heart attack later in life,” Nordström said. “Our study suggests that it’s more important not to be overweight or obese than to be fit, but that it’s even better to be both fit and a normal weight.”

Staying active helps teens fight heart attacks
Nordström and his team demonstrated that teens who get themselves involved in exercise and work to improve their physical fitness could be setting themselves up for fewer health risks later in life. While this study isn’t definitive in the matter, it can certainly be a wake-up call for teens who are allowing their physical health to slip away.

“Further studies are needed to investigate the clinical relevance of these findings, but given the strong association that we have found, the low cost and easy accessibility of cardiovascular training, and the role of heart disease as a major cause of illness and death worldwide, these results are important with respect to public health,” Nordström said.

Teens should look to participate in martial arts
Heart attacks can be a scary thought for teens, and they may be able to reduce the odds that they suffer from one by staying active and exercising regularly. Martial arts classes could be just the thing that keeps teens off the couch and maintaining proper exercise levels. Here are a few reasons why martial arts are a good idea for teens:

  • Reduce stress levels: High school, parents, relationships and many other factors can cause a lot of stress in a teen’s life. Martial arts classes can allow them to adjust to all of that and have a support group they can lean on with any of their problems. Training also forces people to clear their minds and focus on their techniques.
  • Improve physical fitness: While many martial arts classes teach self-defense techniques, that doesn’t mean that participants aren’t put through strenuous exercise. Teens in martial arts classes should expect strength, flexibility and muscle building exercises that result in a full-body workout.
  • Better self-esteem: The teenage years can be tough for many, resulting in reduced self-esteem. Taking martial arts classes can alleviate this problem. During training, teens will constantly have their character tested as they overcome barriers to advance their skills.