There are a lot of different opinions which discuss if running is actually useful for a fighter. Even if this is against what many people say, I personally believe that running is one of the golden rules for every martial artist.
Of course, if you are or aim to be a professional fighter, when running, you should try to recreate the situation of a fight. This means, that running at a slow and steady pace is not the best option. This is because Combat Sports is predominantly an anaerobic exercise but certainly includes aerobic too. But regarding how to run for combat sports, I wrote another article (that you can read here).
Today I want to focus on why I believe that running is a good idea for those who practice combat sports. There are quite a few reasons that I can easily identify.
First of all running is a good exercise in order to increase your general cardio and fitness level. It improves your stamina and it can be a very good way to warm up before a session or to cool down after it. Running is a great occasion to notice our breath and try to control it. Running on a regular basis builds resistance.
In the same way it benefits our endurance, running helps develop strength in our muscles. Lower limbs are the main actors while running: quadriceps, hamstrings, gluteus, hip flexors and calves. All supported by our feet. Strengthening our legs muscles will benefit the power of our kicks as well as the solidness when we receive a hit. In addition, several other muscle groups are involved in the running activity. So, this can be considered a complete workout.
The next reason why I think running is good for every martial artist is somehow related with the previous point. Running help us burn the body fat. This is not a slight detail for a fighter. A good six pack is not only good looking but also a sign of a body in shape. In order to be as dynamic, agile and explosive as we can, we need the least percentage of fat.
Running build a great resistance also on a mental level. Running for long distances will help you develop the will of not giving up. So you will be training your mind as well as your body. A strong, firm mind is more likely to resist and not give up also in a fight. When the energy runs out, motivation is what keeps you going. When you are exhausted, a powerful mind will bring upon your definite purpose, reminding you for what you are fighting for.
The last but not the least reason is the enormous benefit that running has on our health. As I have mentioned earlier in this article, running is the perfect moment to be conscious about our breath. For me, running is a form of moving meditation which helps me connect with my inner strength. Focusing on our breath when running will help us control it more accurately throughout our daily life.
Moreover, running rewards us with different results such as: improving psychophysical well-being and cognitive functions, it prevents cancer and cardiovascular diseases, it decreases stress and anxiety and it boosts your immune system.
As a conclusion, if you don’t already, I do suggest you to start running. It’s a fantastic activity that you will enjoy. If you practice any combat sport, it will improve your performance.
The more you run, the more you will realise what amazing machines our bodies are.