The benefits of MMA, an acronym for mixed martial arts, include both physical and mental gains while having fun, making it a popular choice for people who’d rather not work out at a traditional gym.
MMA benefits include:
- Improved self-esteem
- Learn self-defense
- Total body workout
- Increased strength
- Increased power
- Better coordination
- Improved flexibility
- Increased stamina
- Strengthened self-discipline
- Improved mood
However, for every benefit to MMA, there are experts who argue that the sport is unsafe, leads to injuries, and promotes violence.
In this article, learn more about the benefits of MMA and how to practice mixed martial arts in a safe way that promotes more benefits than disadvantages.
Benefits of MMA
The benefits of MMA are not too different from the benefits of regular exercise: better fitness, improved mood, increased strength and power, better balance and coordination, and improved flexibility.
But some accredited sports scientists would argue that learning mixed martial arts gives athletes something more that traditional gym routines can’t offer, including mental benefits like better confidence, strengthened self-discipline, and improved self-esteem.
MMA has even been used to help veterans and first responders overcome crippling anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder.
They attribute this to the self-defense element of MMA. MMA focuses on putting athletes in a fight environment, then teaching them how to fend off attackers with proper technique and power by using high amounts of energy and factoring in recovery time.
These real-life defense skills make athletes feel more confident in their every day lives, showing them they have the power to take on the world and any challenges in throws their way.
Disadvantages of MMA
Poor sportsmanship and improper training are the two culprits that lead to MMA’s main disadvantages, experts argue. MMA is a full-contact sport, after all.
Athletes have reported injuries including concussions, bruises, aches, muscle strains, and even broken bones.
To prevent injuries while practicing MMA, choosing the right coach is key. Coaches should know how to prevent injuries, and never set you up to fight against someone to which you’re not fairly matched.
Let your coach know if you feel uncomfortable or if you don’t understand a direction. Always pay attention to their form.
In addition, always warm up and cool down to allow your muscles time to receive proper blood flow.
Using proper form is essential to prevent serious injuries to yourself and others.
Is MMA better than gym?
Mixed martial arts training is an intense workout, and likely better at burning calories and building strength than a traditional gym workout that uses treadmills or bikes for cardio and weights for strength-building.
For example, an hour of running burns approximately 400 calories. But MMA training includes aerobic and anaerobic cardio exercise, which burns approximately 1,000 calories per hour. Even better is the fact that most MMA training sessions last two hours or more, so that’s 2,000 calories burned per workout.
In addition, you’ll be getting a full body and mind workout during an MMA training session, improving muscle tone, coordination, and power while getting in that cardio workout.
MMA athletes also say that these workouts are more fun than traditional gym training, leading more people to stick to the workout routine in the long run.
Is MMA effective in a street fight?
MMA is very effective in a street fight. While you likely won’t have your protective gear with you, the precision, power, and practical self-defense techniques that you learn in a mixed martial arts training session are designed to give you a workout and train you to defend yourself if necessary.
MMA teaches athletes how to throw effective punches, put someone in an ankle lock, and takedown a potential attacker. Practicing MMA also improves your confidence and ability to think on your feet, giving you the advantage over most people who might be looking for a fight after a drunken night at the pub.
In fact, MMA is probably the best combat systems out there for self defense. You can read more about the best martial arts for self defense here.
Most MMA-trained athletes will scare off an attacker before a fight even ensues.
MMA training offers many physical and mental benefits for those who take the full-contact sport seriously and practice proper technique. For those who don’t, MMA can prove dangerous to your health, resulting in injuries that could be tough to recover from.
If you’re looking for an efficient workout that is also fun and offers improved mental performance, too, mixed martial arts could be a great option.