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WMJ. 2009 Feb;108(1):40-3.

A review of the effects of martial arts practice on health.

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Dean Medical Center Urgent Care, 1821 S. Stoughton Rd, Madison, WI 53716, USA.


Martial arts are ancient forms of combat, modified for modern sport and exercise. Participation in the martial arts is increasing, particularly for youth. Martial arts provide health-promoting and meaningful exercise for millions of practitioners. Benefits from this practice include better overall health and balance, as well as an improved sense of psychological well being. They do not promote aggression and may be used as a treatment modality for youth who are at-risk for violence. This article provides an overview of martial arts for physicians who may evaluate such injuries in their practice. Physicians may wish to consider recommending martial arts to patients as a beneficial form of exercise. They are relatively safe compared to many other sports, and most martial arts injuries are comparatively minor. Risks can possibly be reduced by limiting exposure of inexperienced students, as well as using protective equipment, including mouthguards, eye/face protection, headgear, and padding.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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