Of all sports, there are few that are as high intensity and dynamic as kickboxing.
It’s a sport in which you move fast on your feet. It’s a sport in which you use every single part of your body: in striking with your hands and feet – and in having to dodge those of your opponent – kickboxing is a total body workout. In fact, there are few sports that have such a range of health benefits as kickboxing training.
This is a sport that focuses your mind as much as it does your body, helping to develop your concentration as much as to help you burn fat and burn calories. For this reason, it is an absolutely incredible sport that has the power to change your attitudes and outlook on life.
Here, we’re going to explore the ways that a simple kickboxing workout can work for you – whether that is Muay Thai kickboxing or the classic French and British styles. Because, as you’ll see, the health benefits of kickboxing really are incredible.
Is Kickboxing Better than Other Sports?
As we said, with its punching, kicking, and sparring, there are very few sports that are as dynamic as kickboxing. Sure, this doesn’t mean that kick-boxing is better than other sports – obviously. But it sure does offer perhaps the best workout, with the most drastic effect on your health and fitness.
Yet, the important thing about kickboxing classes is that they are precisely not just a full body workout. Or, rather, they are – but only if we consider that our body also includes our mind.
Much more so than many aerobic activities – from simple running to Zumba, from tennis to swimming – kickboxing focuses your emotions, your concentration, and your confidence. And that’s because it is inherently social. In kickboxing, you are engaged in a real, full contact, physical battle – and that’s not only going to sharpen your muscle groups but sharpen your mind and your social skills as well.
So, let’s dive in – and see how you can improve your health through kickboxing. And once you are finished, check out the different types of kickboxing.
So, What are the Health Benefits of Kickboxing?
Whilst it is fundamentally a false distinction, we’re going to divide the benefits of kickboxing into two separate categories: the health benefits for your body and the health benefits for your mind.
We say this is fundamentally false for a simple reason: those things that will benefit your body will inevitably benefit your mind too. Your mind and body are – of course – inextricably linked. And, whilst the majority of us know the excellent feeling that comes with exercise, those of us that don’t should.
The greatest benefit of exercise – from a kickboxing class to any sort of cardio workout, interval training, or jogging – is that it makes you feel great. And it’s this feeling that is responsible for many of the health benefits of sport for your mind.
Sitting around at your computer is one thing. But humans were made to move.
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Shed Calories. Like, Lots of Calories.
When people think about the health benefits of exercise, they usually think about how many calories they are going to burn. And whilst this approach has its limitations, it gives you a great idea of the amount of physical work you will be doing whilst exercising.
Experts say that, when you are doing fitness kickboxing, you can expect to burn, on average, some four to five hundred calories an hour. And this can increase to about nine hundred if you are going particularly hard.
Factor in the fact that, after your boxing workout, you will be burning a higher rate of calories throughout the day, you’ll be burning really a lot.
Tone Your Muscles – All Over Your Body.
Kickboxing uses all parts of your body. Each combination of jab, punch and kick works a different part of your body.
Kickboxing is not just about your arms and your legs. Each of your punches will engage muscles in your shoulders and back, whilst every kick will work on your abs and your glutes too.
This is why kickboxers look so ripped. And you can tone up and sculpt your muscles too.
Improve Your Balance.
In 2012, scientists undertook a study into the benefits of kickboxing for people with multiple sclerosis. The results were pretty amazing – showing an improved balance across the board.
Kickboxing improves your balance for two reasons. Firstly, it builds the muscles in your lower body – which, obviously, supports you as you move. But, secondly, it also develops your awareness of your body – through footwork and controlled movements – which means greater muscular control.
Work on Your Cardio.
Cardio – short for cardiovascular – is a type of exercise which develops the strength of your heart and your respiration system. Given that cardio exercise is also that which burns most calories, people think that that calories burned is the measure of effective cardio exercise. It isn’t.
A healthy heart and lungs are essential for a healthy body through life – cutting the risk of heart disease and respiratory problems.
Kickboxing is excellent at getting these organs into shape.
Develop Endurance and Stamina.
Besides the inherent benefits of a healthy heart, cardio enables the rest of your body to receive the energy, nutrients, and oxygen it needs. When the levels of these are optimal, your stamina – your ability to endure physical work for longer – is improved dramatically.
By developing your cardio, kickboxing allows your body to exercise more, be active for longer, and to be comfortable with that.
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And the Benefits of Kickboxing for Your Mind?
So, we’ve discussed the benefits of kickboxing for your physique. Let’s turn now to your mind.
Health is not all about the physical. Rather, you’ll find that the healthiest people have the healthiest mind too.
Reduce Stress – and Release Emotional Tension.
Punching and kicking is not just about fat burning or fitness training. No. Rather, the instinctive element of these actions is in the fact of their implicit aggression.
These actions relieve stress. Besides the physical, aerobic exercise – which is a natural stress relief in itself – the aggression that you can channel through kickboxing is unparalleled in pretty much any other sport.
Take out the frustration that you feel in life on a punch bag – and feel the emotional release.
Focus and Concentrate Better.
The point about martial arts, however, is not that they are just a string of random punches and strikes. Rather, sports like kickboxing require poise, elegance, and precision – qualities which require the height of concentration and attention.
When kickboxing, then, you will be thinking about your movements; you will be focusing on their accuracy and grace.
In this way, you’ll be improving your ability to concentrate in all fields when you are outside of your gym too.
Build Your Confidence – and Self-Esteem.
With good exercise comes a body of which you can proud. And with such a body, your confidence – and self-esteem – will flourish.
This is one of the most important health benefits of kickboxing. Because, by confidence, we do not mean vanity or excessive pride. Rather, confidence comes with the knowledge that you’d be able to defend yourself if required, with the appreciation that you have a new skill, with the sense that you are doing something great for yourself.
Give it a try; it feels great.
Part of this is in your ability to set and to meet goals. By having goals set – and by being able to achieve them – you get into a really positive feedback loop in which you are feel you are making great progress.
Winning a fight in a ring or being able to squat three hundred times – all of this will improve your confidence even further as you reach your milestones.
Foster New Relationships.
In kickboxing, it’s not just about you. Whether you are in a gym class or you are sparring with a partner, kickboxing is primarily social. And there is no better place to make strong relationships than when you are dripping with sweat and beating the hell out of someone.
Yes, this is a health benefit. Because great, meaningful social relationships improve your mental health and your overall wellbeing.
Improve Your Mental Health.
Talking of mental health, this is perhaps the crucial part of this second section. Exercise makes you feel good – and it sets the conditions for a really healthy mindset and outlook on life, as well as for healthy thought processes.
This can’t be stressed enough!
Interested in the rules of kickboxing? We bet you are.
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