I am not sure if there is any evidence/ studies done out there, but do martial artists live longer than your average Joe?.

I do get that the fitness involved in Martial arts will help, however the strain on out bodies may counter this.

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    I don't recall ever seeing a study of any particular martial art's effects on life expectancy (positive or negative). This is really hard to study. Most people who take martial arts do it for a short period of time in their lives before moving on. For this kind of study, you might want people who train for longer periods of time, but for how long? And it might be self-selecting: People who train in martial arts the longest might be the types of people who would live longer anyway. Tricky. Aug 6, 2015 at 22:45
  • Unless you're in feudal Japan, I don't think you have to worry about strain on your body. Aug 7, 2015 at 13:24
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    It depends on what kind of strain you're talking about, Juann Strauss. Taking hits to your head can cause cumulative damage to your brain, which might lead to increased risk of depression and suicide. Taekwondo practitioners often have a habit of hyper-extending the knee, which may cause arthritis or tendonitis of the knees or later on in life. Dynamic tension (karate, chi-kung, etc.) could increase blood pressure which might lead to dementia, loss of eyesight, etc. All kinds of possible ways in which contemporary martial arts practice could lead to health problems. Can't easily be dismissed. Aug 10, 2015 at 22:12

3 Answers 3


You should not expect to see a study that tries to quantify the effect of martial arts on lifespan. There are too many variables involved in this process: genetics, diet, sleep patterns, stress, environment, other exercise, etc. And while it is possible to determine what kills you, there is not a corresponding causation for what keeps you alive. The number of people you would need to follow, the length of time (until people die!), and the control of what constitutes martial arts would make this very expensive.

What you can measure is the ability of practitioners to live fully with mobility in old age. Unless your martial art is popular, you may be stuck with anecdotal evidence on this matter.

First you can look at debilitating injuries like:

  • Boxing has a well known problem with dementia resulting from repeated head trauma
  • Major joints like knees are commonly injured in some martial arts. In my experience, major knee injuries are the most debilitating and often permanent.
  • Arthritis from grappling or striking

There has been some work on trying to quantify positive effects, but this is much more difficult, because first you need to determine what it is you are trying objectively to measure, then try to correlate that measure with positive outcomes.

Scientific research on exercise is not very illuminating. It is now well established that you should exercise, where this is generally defined in terms of target heart rate, duration, and frequency. But questions as simple as "Should I stretch after exercise?", regarding how exercise should be done, quickly lead to more questions than answers.

I suspect the best exercise advice for how to live longer is currently independent of martial arts:

  1. Avoid activities with a high risk of severe injury (your martial art may or may not have this)
  2. Exercise regularly

What determines how long you will live is genetics.

Martial arts can determine how well you live until that moment.

Although plenty of other factors come in play; lifestyle for instance.

Finding the right balance is our best shot!


Too much of anything is bad . There has been no exact statistics about it but Martial Artists should stick to proper Health & Food regime with their age . The kilometres of running for an example is not the same in the age of 20s compared to 50s . Though they are far fitter than the average people with much better prowess but it does not mean that they will live more than the normal .


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