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7 Amazing Benefits of Kickboxing You Should Know

7 Amazing Benefits of Kickboxing You Should Know

Three years ago I decided to purchase a Groupon for kickboxing at a local karate club. I thought it would be something new and different to try. I was a bit nervous going in but that didn’t last long! The instructor showed me the ropes while everyone was doing the skipping warm up. Yeah, I was clumsy at first but that didn’t last long either. And it was so much fun!

I’m a runner with tight hips, or they used to be tight. I had back pain as well. Within a month of kickboxing twice a week, my back pain went away and I had a noticeable increase in my flexibility! Here are some more benefits of kickboxing:

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1. Increase Flexibility

During a typical class warm up, you do several stretches for your hips and shoulders. In addition, the moves during the workout itself involve high kicks to the front and side which also increase your range of motion in your hips.

2. HIIT Improves VO2 max

Kickboxing is usually done in ’rounds’. A round is usually 2-3 minutes long followed by a brief break of 30-60 sec depending on the intensity the instructor likes. This is considered to be a High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) workout. By doing interval work near your lactate threshold (working very, very hard but still using oxygen) or even slightly dipping into your anaerobic zone (working extremely hard without oxygen getting to your muscles), you train your heart to be more efficient. This improves your VO2 max which translates to improved fitness. From a practical standpoint, you won’t feel winded going up a flight of stairs! This article from Sports Science of Combat Sport Training discusses VO2 max in relation to various martial arts. Excellent technical read if you love details!

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3. Increase Muscular Endurance

Many of the moves in kickboxing are repetitive and at a quick pace. Speed punches mixed in with power punches, speed roundhouse kicks mixed in with whatever else the instructor dreams up. It’s non-stop for the 2 or 3 minute round. The muscles don’t get recovery time as often as you might wish! This trains your muscles to work longer, thus building endurance.

4. Relieves Stress / Improve Mental Health

Have you ever had such a stressful day you just wanted to scream or kick something? Well, here’s your chance! Punches and kicks are often expressed along with a strong exhale and sound to increase intensity. It is encouraged but don’t go so crazy with the sounds that people start avoiding you! After class you feel so much better than when you walked in. If you’re a stress ball then this is for YOU! Want a little more reading material on this topic? Read this.

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5. High Calorie Burn (Saves time!)

Tight schedules and fitness goals can actually add stress! The best thing you can do is to make your exercise as efficient as possible. Kickboxing burns between 600-800 calories per hour. That’s massive! Not only are you burning calories, you are toning, building endurance, improving your fitness and blasting away stress.

6. Improve Coordination & Muscular Balance

A typical class is well-designed to ensure you work your left side as much as your right side. You’ll soon notice that some movements are easier to do on one side versus the other. Over time, the lagging side learns and becomes better coordinated. This creates balance in the body which you will notice in other areas of your life like even just bringing groceries into the house! You will also notice the increased muscular balance if you do other sports like running, soccer etc.

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7. Tone Whole Body

Having done many kickboxing classes, I really don’t think there’s a muscles NOT used during one class! It really does tone the whole body. Aside from the punching and kicking, there are all sorts of calisthenics mixed in like squats, pop squats, push ups, burpees as well as exercises involving dumbbells or bands. Everything gets worked!

 

You really can’t beat this type of workout for giving you so much in return. And as far as equipment goes, you’ll need some boxing gloves and hand straps. Yeah, you’ll feel like a badass! Depending on where you are taking the class, they probably supply them. Also, many places let you try a class for free, so be sure to ask! Go on, give it a try!

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Jennifer Wasylenko

Exercise Physiologist, ACSM

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Last Updated on January 17, 2019

8 Simple Mindfulness Exercises to Bring Peace and Happiness to Your Life

8 Simple Mindfulness Exercises to Bring Peace and Happiness to Your Life

In life, we all need to be conscientious of what we are doing. You don’t need to live a life of stress if you don’t want to. You can achieve peace and happiness in life by carefully building mindfulness exercises into your life’s routine.

Exercising mindfulness isn’t rocket science and as importantly, you can do it. It will, however, take a few tries to get into the groove of things but once you get it, it is like riding a bike, you will never lose it.

Trust me. It’s in your best interest to learn and put these mindfulness exercises into practice. In this article, I will share with you 8 mindfulness exercises that will help you to boost your energy, vitality and live a more peaceful and happier life.

Why Is It Hard to Live A Peaceful And Happy Life?

Our Habitat Has Become Too Technological

The world has accepted the idea that technology is often the cure for all evil. We have accepted, as a society, that everything technological will make us live a better life without fully investigating the many side effects that modernity brings.

There are a number of technological side effects that have a tremendous impact on your life that the media rarely tells you about.[1] Some of them include self-harm, economic inequality, having less sex, and even suicide. The global community is becoming less happy because of technology.

How can anybody live a peaceful and happy life when they are depressed? Technology advancements, ladies and gents, is a major reason for why we are living a poor life because it has infiltrated our lives too much.

According to my research, Americans spend an average of 8 hours a day looking at the computer screen — The average screen time spent on smartphones alone is about 20 hours per week. That’s a lot! No wonder why living a happy and peaceful life is so difficult these days.

Too Many People Don’t Want to Unplug

Americans check their phones an average of 80 times during vacation.[2] Some admit to checking their smartphones 300 times every single day. In countries like Brazil, India and China, the situation is no different.

The reality is that people are constantly plugged into technological devices and this behavior is literally making people all over the globe fight an inner war with themselves, which consequently makes them very sad. As we know, war is the enemy of peace which won’t make anybody happy.

Listen carefully:

We have a global anxiety epidemic because people don’t want to unplug from their smartphones and most people aren’t doing anything to fix it. It is a sad state of affairs but very real. This obsession with technology is turning us into perishable robots who live terrible lives.

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The era of anxiety is here to stay. There is little doubt about it. We can, however, fight back with the best remedy of all — We call it mindfulness!

Thank God there is an antidote to this whole technological madness. Without further ado, let’s go straight to the mindful exercises.

8 Mindfulness Exercises to Start Practicing

There are tons of mindfulness exercises available for you to engage with out there.[3] In the paragraphs below, I will include the best ones I’ve personally tried or have seen my close friends and family members try.

Are you ready for it? Let’s go!

1. Pray Daily

You should pray on a daily basis. Why is that you may ask — Well, because science has told us to do so.

When people pray, they feel peaceful, almost eliminating anxiety. Worries become secondary, and often gives people energy and hope to cope with the difficulties of life.

Prayer can make you more confident and focused. Prayer also helps you with self-control, helps to control pain, and can protect you against illnesses and disorders like cancer and high blood pressure. At least, this is what researchers from Harvard Medical School have said.[4]

Pray. You won’t regret it.[5]

2. Pay Attention to Your Inner Thoughts

A lot of people allow themselves to be influenced by their negative thoughts. Be different and resist believing in them. It is a bad habit that can lead to unhappiness.

By the way, if you do feel this way, chances are high that somebody other than you put these thoughts into your head.

Here is my secret to combat this cancer — look at things objectively. I bet that if you look at things as they are, you will realize that most if not all of your negative thoughts are only inside of your head.

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If you pay close attention, you will quickly realize that these voices aren’t worth your time. Believe me — Ignoring them and looking at things with objectivity is often the best course of action.

This article can guide you to beat negative thoughts:

How to Stop Automatic Negative Thoughts When You’re Overwhelmed

3. Smile Often

Smiling will slow down your heart. It will also relax your body because when you smile, your body releases endorphins which in itself has a number of positive benefits for you as a person.

Smile often! You may want to smile early in the morning, during the day, and late in the evening. It is amazing what happens to you when you decide to smile instead of being grumpy.

Surrender your problems to a nice smile. You will notice two things. First, most people just don’t which makes them live a miserable life. Second, if you decide to smile often, you will eventually smile unconsciously which is the ideal.

The moment that you smile unconsciously, you then know that you are truly happy.

4. Organize Your Working Desk

A messy desk will make you less productive and can agitate and overstimulate you. You don’t want that.

When you clear your desk, you engage in deep inner-thinking and your systematic decision making ends up becoming therapeutic.

Most people realize that they are most creative when their creative space is clean and organized. The former often makes people more aware of what they are doing which lends to less stress and more productivity.

Organizing your desk will also make you more energetic and focused because order often decreases chaos which is a condition that often slows down daily progress.

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5. Celebrate Your Friend’s Victories

I love this mindful exercise. One of the best ways to live a happy and peaceful life is to celebrate the victories of others. When you do that, you automatically make your friends in a better mood which makes you in a better mood, as well.

Happiness is contagious! We might as well celebrate others as much as we can. If you find out that your peer has won an award, celebrate with him! If your friend is the recipient of a local charity award, celebrate with her!

What is also awesome is that when you celebrate with others, they often celebrate with you in return. This, ladies and gentleman, will make you feel fantastic. You can’t go wrong with this one, period.

6. Listen to Your Spouse/Partner

God put someone in your life for a reason. You might as well listen to him or her.

I listen to my wife everyday. In fact, I often ask the following question to her, “Amanda, what are your thoughts about…” or “What am I missing about…” It is shocking what I hear back from her. Without her having much context and perspective, by the art of observation in my own nonverbal behavior and the behavior of others, she accurately gives me incredible insights which helps me out with living my life to the fullest.

I’m a firm believer that spouses are supposed to engage in interpersonal communication every day. I most definitely do and will continue doing it. You should do the same.

7. Give Yourself a Break from Technology

You can’t be in total equilibrium if your computerized devices control your life. You must get away from technology on a daily basis.[6]

How do you do that? This is my formula:

First, take this smartphone control test. It is only ten questions but this test will place you somewhere in the human robot cycle continuum.

If your score is between 25-30, take a break from the computer (or smartphone, pad, laptop/desktop) every twenty minutes and stop being on a computerized device after 8:00pm.

If you score between 30-35, still take a break every 20 minutes but stop being on these devices at 5:00pm.

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If you score more than 35, you need to take action immediately.

Limit computer use as much as possible throughout the day. Give yourself as many breaks from the computer as possible. Are you ready for the challenge?

8. Go Exercise

Go exercise at least three times a week. I don’t care if you need to workout early in the morning, late in the evening, on the weekends or during work days. Working out is absolutely imperative for you to live happy and peaceful life.

The stresses of the modern world are too much for you to neglect this important mindfulness exercise. When you go to the gym, you burn calories, focus on activities one step at a time, your mind relaxes, anxiety decreases, you sweat and often think about topics unrelated to your work place among many other benefits.

You must exercise at least three hours each week for optimum results. Why? Just take a look at all the benefits of regular exercising:

12 Benefits of Regular Exercise You Should Know

The Bottom Line

It’s in your best interest to learn and put these mindfulness exercises into practice. Now that our habitat has become too technological and many people just don’t want to unplug, engaging in daily prayer, celebrate your friends’ victories, and listening to your spouse are among the best ways to be mindful about what you are doing and how you are living.

It is possible to live a happy and peaceful life. It only depends on you.

Go exercise! Take a break from technology and invest in you! Life is too short for distractions.

More Resources About Mindfulness

Featured photo credit: Lesly Juarez via unsplash.com

Reference

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