By Janet Chupka
Note: The following article is a followup to our April FitFactor post on the benefits of Martial Arts for bleeding disorders patients.Â
When considering a physical activity for yourself or a family member with a bleeding disorder, many overlook the possibility of martial arts. Martial arts can be defined as any of the traditional forms of oriental self-defense that utilizes physical skill and coordination without weapons, such as karate, aikido, judo, jiujitsu or kung fu, often practiced as a sport. Martial arts are often depicted as high contact, high intensity activities. While there are certain forms of martial arts that do use sparring and contact, many do not. When looking for a program, it is important to do your homework and ask the right questions to know what style of martial arts is right for you. Martial arts should be considered for their many benefits beyond building muscle tone, flexibility, and general health. The practice of martial arts also builds emotional health. Some of the biggest benefits that come from practicing any of the martial arts are self-esteem and self-confidence, self-control, responsibility, respect, and most importantly fun!
Many in the bleeding disorders community are finding success practicing the art of tai chi.
Tai chi is a practice originating from Chinese martial arts and traditional Chinese medicine. It involves a series of slow, meditative body movements that were originally designed for self-defense to promote inner peace and calm. Tai chi can increase flexibility, strengthen muscles & tendons, aid in the treatment of heart disease, high blood pressure, arthritis, digestive disorders, skin diseases, depression, cancer, and many other illnesses. Research has also shown that tai chi helps to improve balance and prevent falls. Because tai chi movements are slow and deliberate with shifts of body weight from one leg to the other in coordination with upper body movements, it challenges balance. This technique improves balance and reduces fall frequency which is key, especially for older adults with bleeding disorders.
Whether the choice is tai chi, taekwondo, some other form of martial art, or any other sport, we encourage you to do your research to find a qualified instructor and a program that is safe and right for your needs. As always, consult with your physician, physical therapist, or HTC before beginning any physical activity or exercise program.
Disclaimer: While extensive efforts are made to ensure accuracy of the content of each FitFactor article, these entries are not intended to be construed as medical advice or the official opinion/position of HFA, its staff, or its board of directors. Readers are strongly encouraged to discuss their own medical treatment, diet plan, and physical activities with their healthcare providers.