With worries of our world being turned upside down, a bad economy, war, gas at an all time high, increasing food and healthcare costs, lay-offs, re-orgs and companies downsizing or just closing their doors, there’s no wonder, more people are looking for ways to relieve the added stress they are feeling these days.
Some people may turn to drinking and other self-destructive ways, but many, as I like to call them, “enlightened ones,” are now seeking a healthier alternative to relieving stress. Judging by the increase of bodies in my kickboxing classes and private instruction bookings, it’s very clear that many have turned to kickboxing.
Through kickboxing they are finding and releasing their inner warrior to relieve their stress. Stress must be controlled because its damaging side-effects are great. The key to dealing with stress is to understand and practice sound stress management. It is essential to find a successful and healthy release, without having that important safety valve, serious health issues are sure to arise. High Blood Pressure, Sleep Disorders, Digestive problems, Depression and Anxiety are just a few to avoid at all costs.
Even though money is tight for most of us these days, spending money on a recreational activity like a round of golf, or something more lasting, like a gym membership, some professional instruction – be it yoga, personal training, boot camp, pilates, or kickboxing-boxing, will turn out to be an extremely beneficial investment, especially in the long run. How could an investment in your health and wellbeing, an important investment in “You” ever be an unsound investment? It will always pay great dividends and its value will never go down even if the Dow does.
Kickboxing, like all exercise provides us with a wonderful and welcome opportunity to escape our crazy and stressful worlds in which we live day to day. Even if it’s only for an hour or two, leaving the real world behind is so incredibly rejuvenating, not only for our bodies, but for our minds as well, which I believe to be equally as important. On the surface, kickboxing might look to be strictly physical, but the serious practitioner will become aware of the Zen components within. They will experience the distinct and powerful connection between body and mind throughout their training.
The beauty of kickboxing, again as with all exercise, is that it can be enjoyed and will prove to beneficial to a person of any age or at any skill level.
Kickboxing has many attractions for people; there is something empowering, primal or even animal in regards to wrapping your hands in a pair of boxing hand-wraps, slipping them into a pair of leather boxing gloves and hitting a heavy bag, focus mitts with your trainer or at advanced levels (only if you are into a little contact, although its not necessarily part of a program) do some light sparring with a real life opponent. Talk about exhilaration. Because sparring is done in a totally controlled environment, with the proper safety equipment, the risks of harm or injury are minimal.
Kickboxing is a fabulous and proven method for stress reduction for both men and women, something has to be said for releasing the warrior inside you, especially after a bad day at the office. Whether it’s your body being super charged with endorphins, the elevated heart rate, heavy breathing and sweat or just beating the crap out of something, the numerous benefits of kickboxing are significant.
Not to get off the subject, I want to insert a quick side-bar here:
In my travels I have been in and out of countless gyms and way too often I’ve seen trainers that are really not qualified putting clients through kickboxing workouts. Unfortunately if the trainer/instructor isn’t truly qualified he/she will not be able to stress the importance of proper punching and kicking form, the practitioners could easily run the risk of serious injury. Hyper-extended joints are a common injury when punching and kicking with poor form. If you have ever watched a boxer, especially shadow boxing, you will notice his movements are precise, never fully over extended and very controlled, he’s not just punching air wildly.
So, we know one of the benefits of a kickboxing program is stress relief, lets explore some of the other advantages.
Aerobic and Anaerobic Conditioning –
The pace and intensity of a kickboxing workout changes constantly and is carried out over any extended period of time, it’s always in flux, it slows, then suddenly get explosive, because of this, the kickboxing workout provides both aerobic and anaerobic conditioning benefits.
In a recent study conducted by the American Council of Exercise, Kickboxing was rated one of the best workouts, with a reported calorie burn of 350-500 plus calories per hour, this type of workout really can’t be beat.
A major training component in martial arts and kickboxing is stretching. It’s funny it something that is so simple to do, yet many of us ignore it. Being loose, limber and flexible increases sports performance as well as everything we do in our daily activities. Flexibility is often thought to be the fountain of youth.
Body Sculpting and Toning-
Kickboxing is often called the total body workout, since it involves all minor and major muscle groups and especially focuses on “core” muscle strength. A kickboxing workout is a great way to tone and re-shape legs, arms and flatten out that stomach.
Since kickboxing involves challenging foot work, stances, shifts in weight and the fact that often you will being finding yourself supporting your body on one leg (kicking and blocking), a kickboxing workout will quickly increase your balance.
Boost Your Self Confidence-
When you’re in shape you naturally feel so much better, an improved self image not only makes you feel better about yourself but you will notice that you carry yourself differently. You are mentally sharper and just simply look better.
Having total control of your entire body (and mind) at all times is the key to improve coordination. Often, your body (hands, arms, feet, legs, head) and mind are working independently and collectively all at the same time. Blocking a strike with your hand, at the same time slipping to the right and throwing a kick, moving your head inches to avoid another strike, as your mind is thinking about your next move. Being able to control some many things at once, not only sharpens and increases our reaction speed, it greatly improves our overall coordination.
Improved Mental Focus-
In kickboxing, having to stay constantly aware at all times helps sharpen the mind. Being conscious of body position, movements and techniques keeps us in the present moment at all times. I think this is an important factor and the reason that it’s such a great stress reducer, since you have to leave your worries and thoughts behind when you start your training.
Learn to Control Your Breathing-
Doing stance and foot work, punching and kick techniques for an hour or being in the ring sparring for a few three minute rounds is quite taxing on the cardiovascular system. Learning to control your breathing helps you push through to new limits.
So whether you are looking for an excellent way to blow off some steam after a tough day at the office, get yourself in best shape of your life, find an alternative exercise program or improve your personal security, Kickboxing might be something really worth while, fun and interesting for you to check out. Once you throw the first punch or kick, I think you will be hooked.
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