Should Kids With Asthma Do Martial Arts? Here’s What I Think

One of the best sports to have children be active in is martial arts. The perks that come along with it are great in the long run, but the question is, is it good for children with asthma?

As long as their instructor is aware of the child’s condition, it is perfectly fine for children with asthma to practice martial arts. The overall training for a child with asthma would not be any different from training for other children doing martial arts.

Some parents might be afraid that practicing in a hectic sport like martial arts may cause their children to be more prone to an asthma attack. Contrary to this belief, however, this is the exact opposite. Here’s what I think about children with asthma practicing martial arts.

Can Martial Arts Suppress Children’s Asthma?

Martial arts will not aggravate children’s symptoms of asthma like the preconceived notion is thought to be. In fact, it helps to suppress the symptoms further. 

According to this 2011 report from the European Respiratory Journal, science has shown that physical discipline and exercise are beneficial in reducing the symptoms in asthmatics:

The University of Wisconsin-Madison has found that (meditative) techniques can help to control the symptoms of many types of chronic inflammation, including asthma.”

The benefits of asthmatic children practicing martial arts only get better from this point forward.

Pros of Asthmatic Children Practicing Martial Arts

Breaking down the perks of this will help parents understand why it’s good for their children to be proactive in martial arts.

And according to Banner Health, “You can control asthma with medications that provide great benefits with few side effects. Children and teens should always be encouraged to participate in physical activities.”

This applies to all forms of martial arts, including:

To improve the function of their lungs, even more, it is recommended that they drink plenty of water to moisturize the mucous membranes of the respiratory tract to prevent mucus buildup. This will help prevent them from getting an asthma attack and keep them active in their practice.

You can ensure your child stays hydrated by getting him or her their own water bottles. Here’s a favorite water bottle set for kids found at Amazon.

Other pros of asthmatic children practicing martial arts include:

  • Suppressing their symptoms
  • Building their strength
  • Improving their focus
  • Learn different breathing techniques (i.e., diaphragmatic breathing, nasal breathing, pursed lip breathing, etc.)

According to YMAA, “Deep breathing initiates a cycle of energy conservation that is beneficial for both martial arts and health. Deep abdominal breathing results in more energy, contributing to longer endurance.” 

In this great series of movies, Mr. Miyagi teaches many life lessons to Daniel along with the techniques of Okinawan Karate. To get a set of these great family movies delivered right to your home, follow this link to Amazon.

The muscles in your child’s body will take advantage of this while practicing, which will simultaneously increase their oxygen supply to improve their breathing. 

The more consistent your child is with practicing breathing techniques in martial arts, the better your child will feel.  

So before jumping the gun and having an attack of your own about your children doing martial arts, think about the ways that it can help them feel and do better in productivity and health first.

How Can Martial Arts Improve Children’s Productivity?

Not only is martial arts great for reducing the symptoms of asthmatic children, but it helps improve their productivity dramatically. To read more about how martial arts can help obese children, you might like to check out this other article I wrote on the subject.

To learn about how your child can benefit from personalized martial arts classes ONLINE, read here and enjoy a free private trial class to see if it’s right for your family.

Children Will Be Able to Maintain Their Stress Levels

For children with asthma, dealing with the intense symptoms of their condition and the attacks that they suffer from can be stressful. Martial arts can help reduce their stress levels.

Unbeknownst to many, the martial arts can incorporate a form of meditation that involves breathing exercises, which relaxes children physically and mentally and releases all of their stress. Practicing both breathing methods and reducing stress levels will make them feel a lot better.

It Helps Improve Children’s Creativity and Problem-Solving Skills

Having your kids practice martial arts will help stabilize the growth of brain cells in their hippocampus. The hippocampus is a part of the brain that is connected to your imagination. This skill will be beneficial for children in the long run because it can help them develop new ideas and develop solutions for problems. 

This can also help them decrease panic if an asthmatic episode should occur. It is vital to remain calm in these situations and the martial arts teaches children how to control emotions, thoughts, and breathing.

Martial Arts Training Can Improve Sleep For Kids With Asthma

Children with asthma can have trouble sleeping from time to time due to poor breathing. Practicing martial arts tires out the body enough to increase fatigue levels and help them sleep better. After a good night’s sleep, it will help them become:

  • More alert
  • More focused
  • And more active during the day

Improving a Child’s Health Through The Martial Arts

Martial arts is the best way to exercise every muscle group in the body. It targets all of the important parts of the body, especially the heart and the lungs. 

One of the best pieces of equipment in all the martial arts is a good kicking bag. This one piece of training gear can increase a child’s overall health through muscular strength and cardio-vascular capacity more than any other.

For children there is a new, extremely durable inflatable, free standing kicking bag that your kids will love. Moms and kids alike can get a great workout on this unique equipment. Check it out here on Amazon.

Both the vessels and the heart will remain in great shape, and the functioning of the lungs will improve, strengthening resistance to asthma attacks.

All of these qualities will be beneficial for asthmatic children when they age. These traits will help build both their physical and mental well-being and will help keep their asthma stable. 

Cons of Asthmatic Children Practicing Martial Arts

At times, the symptoms of childhood asthma can come into effect when performing intense and rigorous martial arts training at any given time. 

Some of the cons of this include:

  • Breathing difficulties that can interrupt their training
  • Harsh coughing or strained breathing 
  • A delay in breathing or bronchitis

Even though martial arts improves an asthmatic child’s condition, there may be times where these situations may occur. For these reasons, it’s important to supervise as many sessions as you can to monitor your child.

As long as the instructor is knowledgeable about their condition, they will remain calm and help bring your child’s breathing back to normal. Also, make sure that they have their inhaler with them at all times.

How Can Martial Arts Alleviate Breathing Problems for Asthmatic Children?

With the possibility of your child panicking at any given moment that may later turn into an asthma attack, it’s important to take the best preventative measures to reduce these attacks. We will explore the different ways that martial arts can help improve breathing for your child’s asthma.

Martial arts focuses on exercises that involve flexibility and stretching that can strengthen the muscles of the respiratory system. As discussed earlier, various forms of martial arts can help improve breathing as well.

The breathing movements that are practiced from these forms utilize deep breathing from the diaphragm and the chest. The circulation and the heart functions continue to improve, and the depth of breathing is increased, allowing your child to breathe better.

Different Breathing Techniques in Martial Arts

Let’s examine different breathing techniques that will help your child suppress their asthmatic symptoms. These exercises will help your child control their breathing and make them feel better.

Practice with Abdominal Breathing

Practicing abdominal breathing involves filling your lungs with air while concentrating on the abdominal muscles and inhaling through the nose into these muscles. Learning to control the diaphragm greatly increases lung capacity. This in turn aids children with episodic breathing difficulties.

Practicing this will improve your child’s breathing patterns further, especially since most of the power comes from the stomach and chest during combat.

Focus on Attention Breathing

Children breathe through their abdomen, so that this next breathing technique will be great for them also. Attention breathing involves breathing from the abdomen to provide consistent breathing patterns and develop a conscious form of breathing. 

Aikido Breathing Techniques

Another efficient breath method for your child to practice is found in Japanese aikido or its Korean counterpart, HapKiDo. Aikido and HapKiDo techniques involve different breathing forms to provide stability for both the mind and the body and are efficient with decreasing asthmatic symptoms. Some of these breathing forms include:

  • Reverse breathing
  • Breathing rhythm
  • Meditation
  • Kiai
  • Kokyu Nage
  • Kokyu hu

Having your child practice these breathing techniques will help them as they get older. 

Kids Martial Arts and Asthma Takeaway…

Martial arts is an effective way for your child not only to combat their opponent but their asthma. Ultimately, martial arts serves as an excellent practice to combat this chronic disease and boost your child’s health and confidence. And now, it’s time to let them spring into action and break through their personal barriers!

Mathew Booe

Mathew Booe is a father of four, husband to Jackie since 1994, retired international competitor with over 50 wins, an international seminar instructor, a master instructor of hundreds of Little Ninjas each week, and the one bringing you the great content like you just read. Sign up for the newsletter to hear about his upcoming books before they are released to the public.

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