Visit any gym or fitness centre and there’s a high chance you’ll find kickboxing on the menu of activities. This popular combat sport first started making waves during the 1950s in Japan, where it then caught the attention of Americans shortly after.
Nowadays, kickboxing is a universally popular activity enjoyed by both adults and children alike. This martial arts sport takes inspiration from karate and boxing, mixing in throws, kicks and punches, for a high-energy, cardio workout.
There are plenty of great reasons to take up kickboxing, and here are just some of them.
Kickboxing is fast and energetic, ensuring you lose weight quickly. In fact, studies show that you can burn around 750 calories per hour from kickboxing. By boosting your metabolism, this activity can even keep on burning fat long after your session has ended.
If you’re looking for an exercise that gets all your body muscles into gear, helping to tone and strengthen, you’ll be hard-pressed to find anything that surpasses kickboxing. The versatility of the moves, punches and kicks leave no muscle group untouched, but they also help to engage your core, improving your coordination and posture.
Aside from the martial arts moves involved with kickboxing, sessions also often include planks, sit-ups, running and skipping, for an even more varied workout. Stretches carried out at the start and end of the session also improve your flexibility.
Kickboxing is considered a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workout, where sessions are carried out in rounds of a couple of minutes, followed by a pause of up to a minute. The intense nature of the activity, combined with other elements such as running and skipping, get your heart pumping for a really effective cardiovascular workout.
Kicking is key to this activity, and in order to do this, you’ll need to stand on one foot as you raise your other leg in the air and project it forwards. These movements are perfect for those looking to improve their balance and stability.
Increase ability to concentrate
It takes a lot of effort to learn, and concentrate on, the kicks, punches and fighting moves involved with kickboxing, so it’s ideal for honing your ability to focus on the task in hand. Even better, as you concentrate on what you’re doing, this activity puts you in the present moment, making it a worthwhile form of mindfulness.
Although many people take up kickboxing for its body benefits, many of the moves used also make it a great way to learn self-defence skills. Having this know-how can boost your confidence to cope in situations where you might need to defend yourself.
Pent-up anger, stress and tension can manifest in many health problems, but punching and kicking pads is a really effective way to release this and stop emotions from boiling over. Kickboxing also gets the blood pumping around the body and helps to flood feel-good hormones in the brain, improving your mood.
The master of the kickboxing class is firmly in charge, and as with other martial arts activities, there is an element of strictness about this sport. If you don’t follow the rules, you’re out. Kickboxing, therefore, is a superb exercise for teaching children, in particular, to respect others, especially those in positions of authority.
Your body stands to benefit when you join a kickboxing class, but your social life could prosper, too. As a class activity that involves training with others, kickboxing is a great way to make new friends with people of all different age groups and abilities.