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Fitness and Karate


Bernd (Bernie) Weiss, Ph.D.

It has virtually become common knowledge that regular exercise - especially sustained activity which places an optimum load on your pulmonary-cardiovascular system - promotes health and, according to recent research, greater longevity. There are various exercises which are found to be good for your health including certain forms of self-defense activities. This was first reported in a well-controlled, long-term, Stanford University study headed by exercise physician Dr. Paffenbarger.

Dr. Paffenbarger first found that people who burn over 2000 calories per week through exercise significantly reduce their cardiovascular risks. He then evaluated a number of different types of exercise to see how effective each is in helping the practitioner burn 2000 weekly calories.

He and his co-workers grouped the types of exercise into three categories with respect to their effectiveness in burning the minimum calories he found necessary to be of health benefit. The categories were: Best, Fair and Least effective.

In the 'Best' Category we find the expected - running, jogging, walking, bicycling, cross-country skiing and swimming. These are the forms of exercise which, at the time of Paffenbarger's study, already had strong scientific support. Along with these types of exercise, Dr. Paffenbarger's study also found that karate rated in the 'Best' exercise category for pulmonary-cardiovascular health.

Karate, a set of Okinawan/Japanese self-defense and fighting systems, is not only healthy from an exercise standpoint but, in my opinion, is the optimum, effective self-defense for the average person at just about any age level. Dr. Paffenbarger found that practicing karate for one hour on each of three different days per week causes the body to burn over 2000 calories each week.

© 1997 Bernd Weiss

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