10 Kickboxing Benefits You Should Know

by Marixie Ann Obsioma, MT, undergrad MD on November 18, 2020
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Sick of your usual treadmill and weights routine? Maybe it’s time you gave kickboxing a shot. This form of exercise offers amazing stress-relieving and strengthening benefits, also offering limitless potential for variety. On top of those benefits, kickboxing can shave off at least 500 calories with every hour. Once you get a few basic moves down, you’ll work up a sweat in no time.

The Basics of Kickboxing

Losing weight with kickboxing is not as easy as running or going to the gym, it can be a little complicated. Kickboxing is a full-body workout that allows you to work on your muscles. It is excellent for strength-building and may actually lead to gain weight, which can be quite frustrating for those wanting to lose weight. In order to lose weight, you have to play the right cards.

How Can You Benefit from Kickboxing?

1. Cardiovascular Health

Yet another fantastic benefit that comes along with practicing kickboxing is that it is a great form of aerobic and anaerobic training, or in other words, it helps to make your heart and your lungs stronger. This benefit is true both for the act of kickboxing itself, such as when you punch a weighted bag, when you fight those wooden dummies, when you spar with a partner, and when you engage in a real kickboxing competition.

All of those things will definitely get your lungs heaving and your heart pumping like nothing else. This is also true for all of the training that comes along with kickboxing. Things such as jumping rope, doing circuit training, jogging, and sprinting all come along with kickboxing and they all serve to improve your cardiovascular health (1). Having a strong heart is indeed very important for many different reasons.

On a side note, both your heart and your lungs can be strengthened just like other muscles in your body, or in other words, the more you work them the stronger and more efficient they become. First of all, a strong heart is necessary to avoid things like high blood pressure, heart attacks, strokes, heart and arterial disease, high cholesterol, and it can help lower your resting heart rate too.

All of these things mean that your heart is stronger, plus it does not have to work as hard to do its job, thus keeping your heart healthier well into your old age. There is also the fact that a strong heart means that more blood gets pumped to your muscles, thus supplying them with more oxygen and nutrients in order to kickbox your heart out.

Moreover, strong lungs are also very beneficial for you. First off, when you train your lungs through cardiovascular exercise, they gain an increased ability to absorb oxygen, process it, put it in your blood stream and send it to your muscle. Evidence showed that participating in kickboxing three days a week for one hour at a time increased maximum oxygen uptake or VO2max (2).

More oxygen being delivered to your muscles, as we mentioned before, means that they will be able to work harder for longer, thus increasing your physical performance (3). Also, having stronger lungs means that you won’t get winded every time you walk up a couple flights of stairs, yet another bonus that comes with kickboxing.

2. Stronger Muscles

Perhaps one of our favorite parts about participating in some regular kickboxing classes is that it will help you become very strong very quickly (4). All of that striking that you do with your feet and your hands definitely uses your muscles, and not just a little bit either. Punching and kicking will no doubt make your muscles very big and strong, but that still is not everything.

There is a lot more than just striking when you engage in martial arts like kickboxing. Training for this fantastic martial art means doing sit ups, pushups, planks, running, jumping rope, and so much more. There are a whole lot of resistance exercises, weight training exercises, and isometric exercises that you need to do in kickboxing in order to really train the way that professionals train.

All of these things will go a very long way in giving you those muscles that you have always wanted. Kickboxing is great because the sport itself plus all of the training that you do for it will strengthen, tone, and enlarge literally every single muscle in your body.

Kickboxing is especially beneficial for your arms, legs, and core, but it is also great for all of your other muscles too. Not only will your muscles be stronger, but they will also be more toned as well, giving you that muscle man look that we all dream of when we look into a full-length mirror.

3. Flexibility and Balance

Another really great thing that kickboxing can do for you is to help increase your flexibility. No, the act of kickboxing itself will not really make you more flexible, but that is not true for the things you do before and after a kickboxing class. What we are talking about is stretching, and stretching is great for you. Not only does stretching make you more limber for your next big kickboxing class, but it also helps keep you flexible in general.

Of course, warming up your muscles before you engage in any physical activity is important to avoid injuries such as a pulled muscle, but that is not really what we are getting at here. Building flexibility over time is great because it helps you avoid injuries in your everyday life.

Slipping and falling on an icy sidewalk can definitely be painful, but if you are inflexible it can be a whole lot worse because your body is automatically going to move to catch yourself when you fall, but if you aren’t flexible enough you could a pull a muscle when you do that.

A small study that looked at the effects of kickboxing in people with multiple sclerosis (MS) showed that kickboxing three days per week resulted in improved coordination and balance (5).

Though only 11 participants completed testing and training, the results of this study suggest that kickboxing may help improve reactive and anticipatory balance. This, in turn, could reduce your risk of falls as you age.

Of course being more flexible is good for other things too, such as being a better fighter in kickboxing or even for being a better lover in bed too. There is also the fact that being more flexible also leads to having better balance (6).

When you are more flexible you automatically have a wider range of motion, something that is important for countering shifts in weight. When you are flexible you can more easily move your body to counter positional shifts and keep yourself from falling down. All of these things can be achieved through some simple yet fun kickboxing classes. There is also the fact that kickboxing involves a lot of standing on one leg to execute a kick, therefore you are forced to balance on one leg.

Of course, just like with anything else, the more you train yourself to balance the better you will get at it. To be exact, this has to do with the proprioceptors in your muscles, which are the things which send signals to your brain to make your balance. Every time your body shifts, your proprioceptors register that, send a signal to your brain, and your brain then sends a signal back to your muscles, thus forcing them to shift position in order to keep your butt from falling to the ground.

4. Stress and Rage Reliever

The next thing that we really like about kickboxing is that it is a fantastic way to relieve pent-up rage and stress. Don’t go to a therapist or an anger management class when you could spend your time and anger kicking and punching a 300-pound bag. There is really no better way to relieve all of your anger than by getting a little violent and crazy.

Of course, once again, we are not advocating that you go beating on people like bullies in school, but striking a bag or training dummy, or even competing sanctioned kickboxing competitions with real people, is definitely a legitimate and legal way to get rid of your weekly anger.

Moreover, not only is kickboxing a good way to relieve anger, but also to relieve stress. Life can be pretty stressful, not to mention that daily events can cause a whole lot of anxiety and depression, but not to worry because those are all things that kickboxing can take care of with ease. This is in fact not thanks to being able to hit stuff really hard, but because of the nature of exercise in general.

You see, depression can be caused by chemical imbalances in your brain, or by a lack of some important neurochemicals (7). Well, exercising is a natural way to induce your brain to create these chemicals. Dopamine, serotonin, and endocannabinoids are all different neurochemicals that your brain produces in excess when you exercise really hard.

These different chemicals, when put together, have the ability to relieve the effects of stress, depression, anxiety, and general melancholy. Feelings of happiness and relaxation are a big part of exercising on a regular basis and it’s something that you may know as the runner’s high.

5. Better Sleep

Physical activity improves sleep, including in people with sleep disorders. There is a significant amount of evidence showing that getting regular exercise has a positive effect on sleep quality and duration (8).

Sleep deprivation increases your risk of diseases, such as cancer and heart disease. Getting enough sleep improves your mood and ability to think, and it increases your energy levels.

6. Improved Mental Health

Martial arts, including kickboxing, and other forms of exercise have been linked to improved mental health and positive feelings.

Kickboxing involves aerobic and anaerobic exercise, both of which positively impact mood. It does this by increasing endorphins and producing changes in the part of the brain that can improve stress, anxiety, and depression.

7. Increasing Focus & Concentration

The next thing that kickboxing can help you with is to improve both your focus and concentration. This is because kickboxing is of course a martial art, which is something that requires a whole lot of dedication and concentration to master. All of those different kicks, punches, and fighting moves take a lot of time to master, and without the proper amount of dedication, there is no chance of ever getting better at it, let alone become a master kickboxer.

Going back night after night to train your kickboxing technique will definitely teach you the focus, concentration, and dedication that you need to get through life. All of those qualities are very important for your everyday life. Have you ever tried keeping a job when you haven’t been able to concentrate on the task at hand? Yeah, we didn’t think so.

8. It Is A Social Activity

One of the best parts about kickboxing is that it is a social activity that lets you meet new people and be a part of a group. Contrary to what that guy that sits in his mom’s basement and plays video games from dawn till dusk would have you believe, spending time with people is a very important part of life.

People are there to talk to when times are tough, they are there for you to confide in when you need an ear to hear you out, and they are there to make boring nights a little less lonely. The point of this is that being alone is not fun and spending all day by yourself is kind of depressing, to say the least.

Joining a kickboxing class is not only a great way to stay in shape and learn how to defend yourself, but it is a great way to meet people and make new friends. Not everyone in the class may be in the same age group as you, but it is pretty certain that you will meet at least one person which you will be able to relate to.

This is especially important when it comes to your children because there is no better time to make friends than when they are young. Moreover, having friends can be pretty important in life in terms of building a social network. Most jobs and positions that will be available to you in life will be available because of a friend who puts in a good word for you.

9. Self Defense

Something that everyone will definitely be able to appreciate about kickboxing is that it is one of the best things to know in terms of self-defense. Kickboxing is a very versatile martial art that teaches you many basics, especially when it comes to striking with your hands and feet.

Nobody wants to be bullied in school, or even worse, in adulthood, and nobody wants to be robbed or mugged on the street, and nobody wants to be confronted in a dark alleyway without the means to defend themselves.

Well, kickboxing is probably one of the best things to know if you really want to be able to defend yourself versus a bully, attacker, or someone putting unwanted hands on you. Nothing will deter those bad people quicker than a swift kick to the head.

Of course we are not advocating violence in any way, but sometimes when life calls for it, when that bully wants your lunch money, when that guy in the alley wants your wallet, or when that drunk guy at the bar won’t stop putting hands on you, knowing how to defend yourself with your own 2 hands and feet is the best way to stay safe and keep your possessions where they belong, in your own pockets.

10. Weight Loss

The final benefit we want to discuss is weight loss. Kickboxing is intrinsically an interval-based workout. Whether it is Thai boxing, kickboxing or Muay Thai, all combat sports are trained in rounds. Most kickboxing rounds last two or three minutes. These short bursts of activity followed by stretches of lower-intensity movements can help you burn more calories than you would during a steady-state cardio workout.

The exact number of calories you can expect to burn depends on a few things, including the format of the class and whether you’re hitting a punching bag or not. But one thing you can bet on! It’ll be a significant amount! The ACE estimates a 135-pound person burns 350 to 450 calories in a 50-minute kickboxing class and it can get much higher than that! Experts say you can burn as many as 700 calories if you keep your intensity up throughout the entire class.

Kickboxing can also help you shed extra body fat. A 2019 meta-analysis found that interval training resulted in 28.5 percent more fat loss than moderate-intensity continuous exercise (9).

Another evidence also showed that elite and amateur kickboxers have more muscle mass and lower percentages of body fat (10).

Are You A Beginner?

If you’re new to kickboxing, you may find the following tips helpful:

  • Ease into kickboxing slowly to reduce your risk of injury.
  • Consider your goals. Are you doing for fitness, weight loss, or competition? This is very important when choosing a kickboxing class.
  • Aim to participate in kickboxing at least three days per week for one hour at a time.
  • Make sure to fuel up properly beforehand and stay hydrated while working out.

The Bottomline 

There are so many different benefits of kickboxing that you can reap that you should definitely give it a try, at least just once. Kickboxing is a fantastic martial art and a great form of exercise in general, one that teaches you self-defense and confidence, not to mention that it makes you stronger, it makes you look better, and it works wonders for your cardiovascular health, weight loss, plus a whole lot more too. We recommend that you try kickboxing at least once because once you do you will never quit it!

References:

(1) https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/07303084.1999.10605694?journalCode=ujrd20

(2) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4187584/

(3) https://europepmc.org/article/med/7837952

(4) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4187584/

(5) https://insights.ovid.com/pubmed?pmid=22850333

(6) https://journals.lww.com/jnpt/Fulltext/2012/09000/A_Group_Kickboxing_Program_for_Balance,_Mobility,.4.aspx

(7) https://journals.lww.com/co-psychiatry/Abstract/2005/03000/Exercise_and_well_being_a_review_of_mental_and.13.aspx

(8) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5385214/

(9) https://bjsm.bmj.com/content/53/10/655

(10) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5424459/

 

 


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