recent blog posts
- Genetic Testing and Breast Cancer: What You Need to Know
- Mushrooms and Your Health: You Either Love Them or Hate Them, but Here Are Reasons to Try to Love Them
- Don't Let Food Allergies Keep You Away From Summer Cookouts
- Helping Patients Navigate Social Security Disability Issues
- Is Yoga on Your To-Don't List?
- 6 Belly-Flattening Food Tips
- Health Headlines in the News
- What You Need to Know About Colon Cancer
- The Rise of Emergency Room Use
- Chemicals Lurking in Your Home
Monday, Aug 02nd 2010
Martial Arts at Midlife: How it Changed My Life
by guest blogger Natasha Spearman-Isip
Midlife martial arts? I can wholeheartedly recommend it! When I decided to try karate, I was 43 years old. That was 15 years ago and has led to a second-degree black belt, my own fitness business and years of taiji (tai chi) practice.
If it hadn't been for one of my twins, who, at the age of 10, wanted "to do karate," I probably would not have given it a thought. Not knowing anything concrete about the martial arts, we decided on a family membership to the local Y and enrolled him in the karate course. Although the philosophy taught in class resonated with me, it wasn't until I saw kata, the series of dance-like movements, that I was hooked. I wanted to learn! Little did I realize the impact it would make on my life.
Karate, taught well, provides a gradual mastery of techniques and consequently, fitness. Regular class instruction is sprinkled with calisthenics and, to my delight, meditation. As I progressed through the belt system, the total package of stretching, upper body technique drills, push-ups, stomach crunches, leg raises, lower body techniques and meditation started to spill over into other activities.
Now, I was doing things I saw young men do. My personal favorite: two steps at a time climbing stairs! I was also on the floor more of time and getting there with the same ease as a child. I kept telling my friends that I had rediscovered the ground, previously seen as a far-away land, friendly only to the young.
I also found that my range of motion had increased considerably. By the time I was an advanced brown belt, my stretching partner could lift my straightened leg completely up to my chest as I leaned on a wall. It was a surreal event. I was watching my leg go up, up, up, without any discomfort whatsoever! The few minutes of meditation in each general class helped grow my interest in attending the 45-minute meditation class given weekly. Over time, it led to the cultivation of a daily practice at home.
Functional fitness has been among the latest trends in exercise science. Through karate, I became functionally fit in a fun way, feeding my mind and soul as well!