Have you been considering taking up Taekwondo? Maybe you’re still on the fence because you’re not sure if it’s worth your time — or money.
But when you stop to consider all that you can gain from training in Taekwondo, you’ll quickly realize the martial art is 100% worth it.
To drive this point home and learn what Taekwondo is good for, let’s look at the 15 health benefits of Taekwondo here!
1. Learn Self-Defense Skills
All right, the first one is pretty obvious. After all, what does Taekwondo teach? Self-defense skills!
In modern Taekwondo, there is a significant emphasis on the martial art as a sport. No one will encourage you to go around picking fights or deliberately put yourself in unsafe situations.
However, the original purpose of Taekwondo was self-defense. If you’re paying attention in class, you’re going to learn something that could be useful to you on the street one day.
2. Improve Strength and Muscle Tone
Taekwondo focuses a lot on kicking. To perfect their kicks, Taekwondo students must drill the moves over and over for hours. A large part of many Taekwondo classes focuses on improving kicking accuracy and strength.
Well, what do you think happens to your muscles after all that drilling? Yep, they get stronger and you’ll develop more muscle tone. Maybe you’ll finally feel good about wearing a swimsuit at the beach after you’ve spent a few months in your Taekwondo dojang!
3. Strong Bones
Another physical benefit that is not so noticeable is strengthening your bones. About 54 million Americans either have low bone density or have already developed osteoporosis, a bone disease. This means that approximately half of American adults over age 50 are at risk of breaking a bone!
However, you can greatly reduce the risk of this disease by strengthening your bones. You do this through weight-bearing exercises.
Jumping and other high-impact exercises put stress on your bones, stimulating your body to produce new bone matter. This thickens and strengthens the bones over time. It’s the same idea as putting stress on your muscles causes them to grow stronger.
4. Greater Stamina
When you first start Taekwondo classes, you might find that you tire easily. After just a few kicking drills, you need a minute to rest and catch your breath.
However, as time passes and you push yourself in training, you’ll find yourself needing fewer and fewer breaks. You might even discover that you can take up jogging as a pastime — and actually like it!
5. Better Heart Health
Taekwondo is not strictly a cardio exercise and is not designed to be. However, through running, jumping, circuit training, kicking drills, and other aspects of training, you’ll definitely be getting your heart rate up, and this could be one of the biggest health benefits of Taekwondo.
Any time you push your heart, you help to strengthen it. And a strong heart is excellent!
A strong heart can push more blood and oxygen throughout your body. Plus, stronger hearts are far less likely to develop heart disease or fall victim to strokes or heart attacks. And since heart disease is the leading cause of death in the US (697,000 people each year) a strong heart means a longer life.
Furthermore, cardiovascular exercise lowers your cholesterol, moderates your blood sugar levels, and lowers your resting heart rate.
6. Improve Flexibility
Another of the big benefits of Taekwondo for adults and kids alike is greater flexibility. When you first walk into a Taekwondo class, you might watch nimble athletes kicking dummies at head height and think you would never be able to do that.
But over time, the stretching exercises will work their magic. With time and dedication, you will eventually become one of those nimble athletes aiming your foot right at the training dummy’s face!
7. Weight Loss
How effective is Taekwondo at helping you lose weight? If you put your all into training, it can be very effective!
As we’ve been noting, there are a lot of great exercises involved in Taekwondo training. If you were a bit chubbier than you’d like when you start Taekwondo, you can kiss that extra weight goodbye.
With dedicated training, those stubborn pounds will melt away — even the ones you’ve struggled to lose your whole life.
8. Improve Reflexes
Once students get an idea of the basic techniques in Taekwondo, it’s time to start sparring. As you train in this aspect of Taekwondo, you’ll develop better coordination and reflexes.
After all, if you don’t want to get kicked or punched, you have to block your opponent’s technique or get out of the way!
Over time, this becomes more and more automatic. Your reflexes improve until eventually, you react without even thinking about it.
9. Confidence and Self-Esteem
We’ve looked at several physical benefits of the sport, but now let’s turn our attention to some of the mental benefits of Taekwondo. Because beyond just getting a good physical workout, the philosophies and principles of Taekwondo also give your mind a good workout.
One big benefit that most students enjoy is increased confidence and self-esteem. As your body becomes stronger and you begin to like what you see in the mirror, it’s nearly impossible for this not to translate into self-esteem.
Plus, people seem less scary when you know you could take them in a fight!
10. Improve Focus and Concentration
What does it take to kick a target in the exact same spot 5 times in a row? How about breaking a board with your bare hands? Or slipping through your opponent’s defense with a stealthy, but powerful, technique?
All of these require extreme focus and concentration. If your mind is jumping all over the place, you’ll never accomplish these tasks.
Many people don’t realize it, but the focus is a learned skill. Put yourself in situations that require concentration and you develop more of it over time.
This is one of the best benefits of Taekwondo for kids with ADHD or other similar issues. It helps them learn to hone their focus, perhaps even without medication!
11. Learn Discipline
Here’s a big benefit of Taekwondo for students and adults alike.
You don’t get through months or years of Taekwondo classes without learning a bit of discipline along the way. There will be days you don’t want to go to class. There will be moments when another kick seems impossible.
But every time you push through and do it anyway, you’re learning a little more discipline. This is an instrumental skill that if learned early will drastically alter the course of your life for the better.
12. Improve Goal-Setting Skills
Have you always found it difficult to follow through? Perhaps it is on goals you set for yourself or even promises you make to other people.
Nobody wants to be that flaky, but sometimes it just happens.
Learning Taekwondo can help with that. The entire process of training is literally setting and meeting one goal after another. You set a goal to stretch to this point, you want to kick to that height, and so on. As with anything, the more you practice a skill, the better at it you become.
13. Stress Relief and Management
Having a stressful day? It sure feels good to hit a punching bag with all your might on those days! Physical exercise and the act of punching things are both great stress releases.
Your stressful situation might not change, but how you feel about it certainly will! And often how you feel about it is more important anyway. Stress only takes a toll on your physical and mental health when you feel stressed, not just because you are confronted with a stressful situation.
14. Social Interaction
Did you know that there are also spiritual benefits of Taekwondo? One of them comes simply from the fact that it is usually a social activity. People come together for training and you might even discover some great friends along the way.
Social interaction is an inherent need that we all have. There’s a reason solitary confinement is the highest level of punishment used in prisons. It breaks our spirits to go without human interaction for long periods of time.
Of course, you can learn Taekwondo at home if there isn’t a dojang near you. And these days with the Internet, you can still get some social interaction by joining an online Taekwondo community.
15. Learn Respect
Finally, one of the basic tenets of Taekwondo is respect. Students are taught respect from day one. They are expected to treat the instructor and other students in a respectful manner. Even the dojang itself is shown respect.
As you learn respect through the physical cues learned in class, the ideal begins to permeate your mind. You begin to develop and show more respect for other people outside of Taekwondo class. This will help you in virtually everything because when you treat people with respect, they will naturally be drawn to you and inclined to help you.
And, perhaps most importantly, you develop and show respect for yourself.
Taekwondo Advantages and Disadvantages
Are you getting excited about learning Taekwondo? You should! This list of physical, mental, and spiritual benefits of Taekwondo gives you a small look into what how training can impact your life for the better.
Though you might be wondering, are there any disadvantages to learning Taekwondo? Well, as with any sport, there is a risk of injury and practicing martial arts in particular can lead to a false sense of security. But joining the right school will limit these disadvantages significantly.
Curious about a look at what you would be learning? Check out our list of 13 basic stances for Taekwondo beginners here!