Brazilian Jiu Jitsu or BJJ as it is more commonly known is more than just a martial art, it’s a way of life. You will often hear many people talking about “living the BJJ lifestyle” and what they are referring to is not just taking part and training the martial art for self-defence benefits, they are talking about the other aspects it involves like eating a clean healthy diet, getting more flexible and destressing the mind.
This lifestyle was made famous by the Gracie family; the pioneers of the martial art and it has now become a worldwide phenomenon and is fast becoming the most popular martial art in the world.

Many celebrities now train BJJ including Ashton Kutcher, Tom Hardy and Keanu Reeves to name but a few.

Below we will cover the main health and fitness benefits from taking part in BJJ and from living the Jiu Jitsu lifestyle.

Great Aerobic Workout
BJJ is an excellent form of aerobic exercise and a good calory burner. BJJ Sparring rounds often referred to as “rolls” or “rolling” are one of the toughest forms of exercise.
Even participants that are generally fit, usually struggle when they first start out as it’s a different type of fitness to what they are used to. On average a 30-minute rolling session burns around 500 calories which is fairly good going I think you would agree.
Some of the other benefits of aerobic exercise include improved cardiovascular efficiency, improved blood volume delivery to muscles and increased efficiency of respiration.

Increased Flexibility
To be sufficient at all the movements and techniques for Jiu Jitsu, you will need to have a certain level of flexibility. Very few people start out flexible, but over time, with lots of practice, they soon become flexible enough to perform the more advanced moves and escapes required to progress through the belt system.

Depending on the type or style of BJJ you are training, it will involve different moves and techniques. If you are training in the GI then you will usually follow the IBJJF guidelines whereas if you train NO-GI then there are many different techniques and rulesets. Of all of the styles that you can train, 10th Planet is the one that requires the highest levels of flexibility.
Some of the benefits of increased flexibility include improved posture and balance, greater strength, improved physical performance and fewer injuries.

Reduced Stress and Improved Mental Health
When first starting out in BJJ it can be a very daunting experience. Especially sparring with people who have more experience than you. Over time though, the more you are put in the bad, uncomfortable positions, you learn to deal with being uncomfortable. Firstly, by relaxing and secondly by clearing your mind and taking action.

This also has so many benefits outside of the dojo. People often say that it’s helped them experience a new level of inner peace, cured anxiety, improved problem-solving skills and reduced stress. Who wouldn’t want those benefits in their life?

Build Strength
Jiu Jitsu was designed so a smaller, weaker person could defeat a larger stronger opponent so being strong is not one of the requirements. Becoming strong however through BJJ is one of the many benefits.
In most cases, you will have to train and spar with people who are taller than you, weigh more or are generally more stronger than you and over time through many training sessions you will start to become stronger. Grappling works nearly every muscle in the body, so it’s no wonder people call it the full body workout.

If you have not yet tried BJJ but would like to give it a go, now might be the time to sign up for a class. With Jiu Jitsu academies popping up in most towns, it’s never been easier to find a local gym.

If you enjoy other activities that benefit you physically and mentally, like surfing, climbing and yoga, you will enjoy mastering the physical and mental challenge that is BJJ and is often referred to as the art of human chess.

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