Detroit News Article, April 9, 2004
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The following article appeared in the April 9, 2004 edition of the Detroit News. Reprint permission pending. Copyright © 2004, The Detroit News.

Korean karate yields impressive fitness results

By John Briley
Washington Post

You donít need to hit the gym for a balanced workout. A study in the April issue of the British Journal of Sports Medicine concludes that the more dynamic martial arts work just as well.

The study compared nine people whose only workouts were two one-hour sessions a week of soo bahk do ó the Korean version of karate ó with nine completely sedentary people of similar ages, resting heart rates and blood pressure.

The martial artists had markedly better strength, flexibility, balance and aerobic capacity. OK, thatís not so surprising, but stay with me.

"The martial artists were able to do two times as many sit-ups and three times as many push-ups as the sedentary group," says the study's lead investigator, Peter Douris, a physical therapy professor at the New York Institute of Technology.

The sedentary group had 12 percent more body fat and much-weaker quadriceps, and could hold balance for only 26 seconds, compared with 62 seconds on average for the martial artists.

Hereís the bonus:

Douris compared the results with the American College of Sports Medicine's fitness benchmarks and found the martial artists were in the 80th percentile for overall fitness; the sedentary group was in the 20th percentile, a stat that is motivation enough to get moving, whether in the gym, the martial arts or elsewhere.

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