We all want to keep our minds and bodies in great shape. A rigorous workout doesn’t just keep us lean and in shape, it also sharpens the mind, improves memory, alleviates stress and even keeps anxiety and depression at bay. But there are many for whom the gym just isn’t the right environment to exercise. Some people simply get bored lifting weights and sweating away on a treadmill or elliptical machine. There are many who demand a little more dynamism from their workouts. And for these people, the combat sports are understandably appealing. And while many turn to karate, kick boxing or (increasingly) Mixed Martial Arts for their fix, the time honoured sport of wrestling is criminally overlooked.
When many of us think of wrestling they think of the glitzy choreographed dance that is professional wrestling. And while traditional wrestling may not be as spectacular as what we see on TV it is nonetheless a great workout for the body and mind. And there’s much less chance of injury, especially if you’re wearing a good quality pair of wrestling shoes. You’re certainly far less likely to be hit over the head with a folding chair. Let’s take a look at some of the unexpectedly awesome health benefits of wrestling…
It’s a great workout for the whole body
The gym has a variety of weight machines to help you work out individual muscle groups. But working them out one at a time is less effective than working several muscle groups simultaneously (compound exercises). And while these can be done in the gym, wrestling is full of compound exercises. Wrestling is usually done in a squatting position, engaging the legs, the glutes, the core muscles and the upper body as you work against your opponent’s resistance. You’ll find that a wrestling session is as comprehensive as any workout in the gym… and much more fun!
It keeps your ticker in great shape, too!
As important as it is to engage your muscles in a workout, you can’t afford to neglect the most important muscle of all… your heart. The good news is that wrestling is an excellent cardiovascular workout. The short, intensive bursts of activity that are inevitable in wrestling are a form of High Intensity Interval Training and a great test of cardio fitness.
It’s a social sport that introduces you to a new friendship group
The health benefits of wrestling go beyond the corporal. They also include a number of mental and emotional health benefits. Like any workout, a good wrestling session floods the brain with endorphins, dopamine and serotonin. What’s more, it introduces you to a social group of encouraging, supportive people. Social activity is a hugely important part of maintaining good mental health.
It improves concentration, too!
Finally, wrestling can even improve your cognitive health and keep you mentally sharp. Wrestling is like chess. It’s highly strategic and requires analytical and problem solving skills as well as improvisation and being able to think on your feet.
As you can see, there isn’t a single aspect of your health and wellbeing that wrestling doesn’t cover!