It is no secret that Thai people are renowned for their longevity with a life expectancy of around 79 years. Along with a nutritious diet, relaxed culture, and almost ideal climate, another key factor may lie in their traditional martial art: Muay Thai. Through its smooth, precise movements, Muay Thai has the potential to not only strengthen your body and mind but also effectively slow down the ageing process as it enhances all aspects of your body, from muscles and joints to the way you breathe.
Let’s have a look at the eight ways Muay Thai keeps you young and healthy.
Eight ways Muay Thai keeps you young and healthy
1Strengthens your heart
Lifelong health begins with a healthy heart. Two studies presented at the American Health Association conference showed that maintaining optimal cardiovascular health can lead to a longer lifespan, lower risk of cardiovascular death, and prevent chronic diseases.
Muay Thai is an excellent workout for cardiovascular health, as it elevates your heart rate and improves overall cardiovascular stamina. With regular training, your heart becomes more efficient, leading to a reduction in your resting heart rate. Additionally, a study shows that Muay Thai training can effectively prevent and treat cardiovascular disease by reducing systolic blood pressure.
2Increases VO₂ max
VO₂ max is the maximum volume of oxygen your body is able to use when you are exercising as intensively as you can. This indicator describes your cardiorespiratory fitness.
VO₂ max is a reliable health and lifespan predictor. Increasing VO₂ max by 10% can reduce mortality risks by 15% and extend life by 10 years for individuals who are not in good physical shape.
Muay Thai is a great way to boost your VO₂ max. Studies have shown that interval training like Thai boxing increases VO₂ max faster and in shorter workouts than steady-state cardio.
3Sharpens your memory
Learning Muay Thai for fitness involves practising and refining different movements, including punches and kicks. This boosts not only physical fitness but also enhances cognitive health by improving memory. It has been shown that aerobic exercise, such as Muay Thai, promotes the increase of the hippocampus, a memory-related region in the brain.
A sharp memory is great for everyday life as well as healthy ageing. It leads to a lower risk of cognitive impairments, Alzheimer’s disease, and dementia of any type.
4Helps to sleep better
National Health Interview Survey conducted between 2013 and 2018 suggests that sleeping well can lengthen a man’s life by almost five years, while a women’s life may extend by two years.
Good quality sleep also enhances your appearance because the human growth hormone is at its zenith of production during sleep. Among its functions are maintaining muscle mass, metabolism, and skin health, which results in a better appearance.
Studies have shown moderate to vigorous intensity exercise, such as Muay Thai, can lead to better sleep quality, which in turn contributes to better overall health and longevity.
5Enhances your breathing efficiency
Muay Thai is a great way to strengthen your respiratory system and improve your breathing efficiency. By increasing your heart rate and breathing more during an intense cardio workout, you are able to breathe better and take fewer breaths per minute, which in turn slows your heart rate and helps it last longer. Breathing through your nose instead of your mouth can decrease your breathing rate, relax your nervous system, and prevent stress, which produces cellular inflammation and can lead to premature ageing and health issues.
Muay Thai is superior when it comes to fat burn. This full-body workout will train you anaerobically and aerobically, with every kick and punch you will be burning the fat as well as shrinking your abs.
Excessive body fat negatively influences not only life quality but also health and longevity. Belly fat is more deadly than carrying excess weight. Scientists have discovered that having a waist size of over 80 centimetres can increase the chance of dying, and anything above 88 centimetres is considered very dangerous.
7Gives your body short bursts of ‘good’ stress
Muay Thai can also be seen as a form of stress fitness that involves short bursts of intense physical activity. Research shows that stress fitness can improve the health and regenerative lifespan of your cells by exposing them to short, controlled periods of stress, rather than wearing them out over time.
Short bursts of stress through Muay Thai training can initiate the body’s recovery process and build resilience.
8Makes your skin glowy
Plump and radiant skin guarantees you look young and fresh. Sweating during punching the bag can have an anti-ageing effect as it leads to increased blood and lymph flow, which decreases eye puffiness and makes you look more radiant.
As a result of regular exercise, the body can produce more collagen and repair skin damage caused by environmental pollutants or exposure to the sun.
The researchers at McMaster University in Ontario discovered that people who exercised regularly after the age of 40 had thinner, healthier outer layers of skin and thicker inner layers of skin than those who did not exercise. Their skin was more similar to the skin of people in their 20s and 30s than to others of their age, even if they were older than 65 years old.
Muay Thai is a holistic approach to improving your health and longevity. It targets various aspects that significantly influence lifespans such as cardiovascular health, cognitive function, sleep quality, and breathing. With consistent training, Muay Thai can slow down the ageing process and make you a long-liver with a healthy heart, lean physique and radiant skin.
Not enough? Here are some more from our colleagues
Combat Culture is a YouTube channel dedicated to Muay Thai boxing, providing instructional videos on techniques, reviews of training equipment, and interviews with renowned figures in the sport. In this particular video, Alvin provides valuable advice and insights for individuals who are attending their initial Muay Thai training session, offering tips and setting realistic expectations for beginners.
Receive Exclusive Tips & Weekly Digest – subscribe to our newsletter