Training to fight can be fun and rewarding, for sure. It helps you build crucial survival skills and also improves your health.
When you first start out, though, it can be really tough, especially if you haven’t been very active for a while.
One of the major problems a lot of martial artists have when they first start training is running out of breath.
In order to improve your fighting skills, you should adjust your cardio load first. Start out with short durations, then increase gradually.
Also, you can incorporate HIIT – High-Intensity Interval Training – where you push yourself really hard for 20-30 seconds, then take it slow for a minute. Repeat for 10-20 minutes.
Make time in your schedule to try these five exercises which are excellent at helping you build up your stamina and strengthen your cardiovascular system.
Running to build cardio is a very popular and effective way to improve your lungs, increase your VO2 max, and get better at breathing!
It’s also pretty simple and easy to do most of the time. The best part is that you don’t have to spend money on equipment. Just put on a good pair of shoes and go outside.
It’s a good idea to try sprinting while you run, too, if for no other reason than to train yourself out of the habit of holding your breath while you exert yourself. A lot of fighters tend to do this during tense moments and are all the weaker for it. Interspersing your steady cardio with high-intensity spurts has been scientifically shown to provide you with lots of health benefits.
Swimming is a great cardiovascular workout. What makes it stand out, though, is that it’s a full-body exercise.
Rather than focusing on just one part of your body, swimming provides gentle resistance to virtually every dominant muscle group in your body while teaching you better breathing control.
It’s also a lot more fun than most other exercises. You can bring a whole group of friends to join in the fun (while getting that exercise!).
Dancing can be a fun way to improve your heart and lung function, with dedicated classes providing an opportunity to learn a skill at the same time.
It helps you improve your performance in martial arts, too. Dancing and fighting have a lot more in common than people might think. They both follow a rhythm: dance follows the rhythm of the music and martial arts aligns your rhythm with another person’s movements.
It’s true: learning the steps to a dance can be good practice for reacting to another person’s attacks.
And no, dancing isn’t just for girls!
4. Go for a Hike
Similar to running, hiking can help to improve your cardiovascular function.
While running is suitable for practicing with a sustained higher heart rate, hiking is a slower activity that usually takes longer and requires navigating rougher terrain than paved roads or treadmills.
Hiking creates an opportunity for you to learn how to deal with physical activity over more extended periods of time rather than with quick bursts of action.
It’s also great for settling the mind and getting into a mental “zone”, which can enhance creativity and help your mind solve those problems that have been bugging you lately.
5. Take a Bike Ride
Bicycling is a low-impact exercise that improves circulation and gives you a great work-out for your legs and core.
Unlike running or similar activities, it has much less of a negative impact on your joints. This makes it ideal for those who have knee problems. If you choose to bike at home or in a gym, rather than in the great outdoors, recumbent bikes are even easier on your knees than the upright kinds.
So remember, if you’re currently learning to fight, or are even looking to learn but you feel intimidated, know that there are plenty of ways you can improve your conditioning and prepare yourself. Advanced Fighting Systems (AFS) provides a great personalized program to help you reach your individual training goals, or even ease into learning how to fight.