The Best Anti-aging Formula
By Christopher Caile
You hear it and see ads in magazines, in TV commercials and in a slew
of e-mails addressed to you. The messages come in many forms, but they
all declare some form of "anti-aging formula, something guaranteed
to make you younger" - from Europe, Asia, ancient Egypt or some
In fact the best formula, the only true one for anti-aging, is right
in front of you all the time: your training. Your ongoing martial arts
practice, no matter the art or style, as long as it is practiced continuously
a couple of times per week for at least an hour, helps you maintain (or
reclaim) your body and maximize its health.
Of course, martial arts isn't a panacea, and it won't cancel out bad
eating habits or injuries from debilitating training, but it will maintain
the body and mind at any age.
As you age you might reduce your workout, limit hard contact and may
have some physical limitations, but I know a number of karate-ka who
are in their 60's and 70's and still continue to train regularly.
So what are some of the health benefits?
Mentally, martial arts reduce stress and anxiety while also producing
a positive self-image and building confidence.
Regular stretching and joint movement exercises common to most martial
arts maximize the range of motion of joints and the ability to freely
and loosely move as you age. There is an old adage that plants and trees
die from the roots first, and it is the same with humans. Stretching
and moving the joints keeps the legs limber and exercise strengthens
or at least maintains muscle strength. Motion can also counter the effect
of the onset of arthritis, especially in the hips where people restrict
their range of motion in response to feeling pain - a downward cycle
of self-restriction that can actually add to the ultimate effect of arthritis.
Regular exercise also helps to maintain a healthy cardio-vascular system.
Chronic hip, knee and ankle problems can be painful, and it is only
natural to want to limit physical activity. But to do so often only acerbates
it. Correctly practiced martial arts can help offset these conditions
or at least minimize their effects.
So keep moving, keep doing those sit ups, push ups and other exercises,
keep doing kata, or tai chi, keep throwing in judo or practicing joint
locks in jujutsu. Your body follows and adapts, and you keep your vitality.
Your body is the most important asset you have. Without physical health,
wealth, material goods, position or fame mean nothing. So don’t
wither and dry up from not practicing. Against the physical limitations
that come with age, your practice becomes your best self-defense.
About the Author:
Christopher Caile is the Founder and Editor-In-Chief of
FightingArts.com. He has been a student of the martial arts for over
43 years. He first started in judo. Then he added karate as a student
of Phil Koeppel in 1959. Caile introduced karate to Finland in 1960 and
then hitch-hiked eastward. In Japan (1961) he studied under Mas Oyama
and later in the US became a Kyokushinkai Branch Chief. In 1976 he followed
Kaicho Tadashi Nakamura when he formed Seido karate and is now a 6th
degree black belt in that organization's honbu dojo. Other experience
includes aikido, diato-ryu aikijujutsu, kenjutsu, kobudo, Shinto Muso-ryu
jodo, kobudo, boxing and several Chinese fighting arts including Praying
mantis, Pak Mei (White Eyebrow) and shuai chiao. He is also a student
of Zen. A long-term student of one branch of Traditional Chinese Medicine,
Qigong, he is a personal disciple of the qi gong master and teacher of
acupuncture Dr. Zaiwen Shen (M.D., Ph.D.) and is Vice-President of the
DS International Chi Medicine Association. He holds an M.A. in International
Relations from American University in Washington D.C. and has traveled
extensively through South and Southeast Asia. He frequently returns to
Japan and Okinawa to continue his studies in the martial arts, their
history and tradition. In his professional life he has been a businessman,
newspaper journalist, inventor and entrepreneur.