The latest predictions suggest that by the year 2050 60% of all adults will be obese, many of these will be morbidly obese. Although there have been some government initiatives in recent years to tackle childhood obesity most of these have failed to make any difference.
There are really two factors that result in weight gain: diet and activity. Most people believe that increase activity levels alone can cure obesity. This unfortunately is not true. To lose weight you need to combine a healthy, reduced calorie diet with exercise. To succeed in getting this combination right you need good self discipline. Most adults fail to achieve this, and children suffer just as badly.
For every child that is overeating there is a psychological reason. Often the cause is a lack of self esteem or self worth. Sometimes it is depression. Although martial arts training cannot make a child, or a child’s parents, change their diet, it can address the other issues, i.e. those of self esteem, depression and self respect.
Martial arts training is as much about mental discipline as physical training. For this reason alone it can really help children to learn to become healthier and fitter people.
Another advantage of children’s martial arts classes is that studies have shown that people tend to lose more weight when they are working with friends. Our competitive nature is present from an early age and children are always trying to prove themselves. If in well run martial arts class this positive energy can be harnessed by an instructor to encourage children to work harder while still having lots of fun.
A good children’s martial arts school will structure the classes to suit the age of the child. Many split the classes in age groups, with Little Tigers from 3 to 5 years, Little Dragons from 6 to 8 years and Juniors from 9 to 13 years. Once a child is 14 it is generally felt that they are old enough to start training with the adults.
Martial arts training has been shown to improve self esteem and confidence in children. This has an amazing positive effect on how they think about themselves, and helps them to take control of their lives. Cases of depressions, lack of self esteem are reduced, which reduces emotional eating and self exclusion from sports activities in schools. Martial arts training really can help young children to become more confident adults.