Most of the research on the health benefits of martial art is on Tai Chi, which focusses on developing a stable, balanced stance, on improving flexibility, and on using breathing as part of a light meditative element.
There have been literally thousands of studies on the benefits of Tai Chi on health, and around 200 of those benefits are in mental health. The most recent scientific appraisal of the evidence finds that Tai Chi improves balance, reduces falls in the elderly, and helps with depression and pain.
The scientific evidence of the health benefits for the ‘hard-style’ of Kung Fu is more difficult to gather, simply because there haven’t been many good clinical studies.
However, there is some evidence that both Kung Fu and other martial arts, can help improve physical strengths and bone density, as well as reducing stress and improving mood and quality of life.