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The Benefits of Mixed Martial Arts

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Special to Chicago’s MMA

Everyone is aware of the many benefits of participating in sports and exercise. Whether you enjoy being as active as an athlete, or you just prefer to do a little to stay healthy, no one can deny that it has a positive effect on our lives.

As more people are waking up to the need to lead healthy lifestyles, they’re turning to a wide range of different sports to stay healthy. One of these is Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), one of the world’s fastest-growing sports.

Whilst they may have been around for a long time, martial arts have become more mainstream in recent years thanks to the growth and popularity of the UFC. After being purchased for just $2 million in 2005, the UFC has grown to a size that is on par with the WWE, boasting a $2 billion valuation and $600 million in revenue.

Whilst the size of the two brands may be similar, they are very different in the world of sports betting. Due to its nature, wagers cannot be placed on WWE fights, whilst many types of bet can be placed on UFC fights. This includes moneyline bets on the outcome or the method of victory (submission, knockout, decision or disqualification). 

What is MMA?

Mixed Martial Arts is exactly as the name suggests. It is a sport that combines various different standing and ground fighting techniques from martial arts like kickboxing, Muay Thai, boxing, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Judo, and others.

The modern form of MMA that we know today was popularised by the first Ultimate Fighting Championship held in 1993. The original premise of the UFC was to bring fighters from multiple disciplines into competition with each other to see who was the best fighter and what the best fighting style was.

From the early 2000s onwards the UFC codified the Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts, making MMA a sport in its own right.

MMA can provide many benefits to those that practice it, here is a look at some of those benefits.

Kickboxer and coach

Improved coordination

When sparing with an opponent, your movements matter. Therefore, you need to be able to seamlessly flow punches and strikes together and hit your target. This requires strong hand-eye coordination, depth perception, and timing. A failure in any of these areas will result in missing your strikes or leave you exposed to strikes from your opponent. 

As you train more, you develop greater proprioception. Making everything work together in unison becomes easier, and you’ll become a much more agile fighter. Outside of MMA, this can help you develop balance and coordination in your everyday life. 

Improved stamina and endurance

MMA is an intense cardiovascular workout, providing as much aerobic exercise as swimming, running, or skipping. Aerobic conditioning provides a number of benefits, including improved mood and a reduced risk of developing cardiovascular disease. 

Increased strength and power

Aside from the increased stamina from aerobic and anaerobic elements of MMA, it also provides an element of resistance training – especially MMA conditioning workouts that involve lifting weights – which will develop your strength and power. Grappling, throwing and wrestling with an opponent all provide substantial resistance training and, unlike many other sports, MMA is a whole body workout. 

Increased strength can be useful in many areas of life, reducing pain and making every day tasks like carrying shopping and moving furniture easier.

Social Benefits

One overlooked benefit of MMA is that it provides social interaction. This is an important part of maintaining good mental health, helping to reduce stress and creating a sense of belonging. Regular MMA training sessions require interaction with others and those who attend these lessons at a club or dojo will form strong bonds with their fellow MMA practitioners.

Overall, MMA provides all-around benefits for the people who participate. It can increase strength, power, and stamina, as well as improve hand-eye coordination and balance. Aside from the physical benefits, MMA can support your mental health by creating an environment to socialize with like-minded people. And like all exercise, the release of endorphins will also provide a “runners high” after each session.

 

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