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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 3, 2020

The 10 Essential Habits of Positive People

The 10 Essential Habits of Positive People

Are you waiting for life events to turn out the way you want so that you can feel more positive about your life? Do you find yourself having pre-conditions to your sense of well-being, thinking that certain things must happen for you to be happier? Do you think there is no way that your life stresses can make you anything other than “stressed out” and that other people just don’t understand?  If your answer is “yes” to any of these questions, you might find yourself lingering in the land of negativity for too long!

The following are some tips to keep positive no matter what comes your way. This post will help you stop looking for what psychologists call “positivity” in all the wrong places!  Here are the ten essential habits of positive people.

1. Positive people don’t confuse quitting with letting go.

Instead of hanging on to ideas, beliefs, and even people that are no longer healthy for them, they trust their judgement to let go of negative forces in their lives.  Especially in terms of relationships, they subscribe to The Relationship Prayer which goes:

 I will grant myself the ability to trust the healthy people in my life … 

To set limits with, or let go of, the negative ones … 

And to have the wisdom to know the DIFFERENCE!

 2.  Positive people don’t just have a good day – they make a good day.

Waiting, hoping and wishing seldom have a place in the vocabulary of positive individuals. Rather, they use strong words that are pro-active and not reactive. Passivity leads to a lack of involvement, while positive people get very involved in constructing their lives. They work to make changes to feel better in tough times rather than wish their feelings away.

3. For the positive person, the past stays in the past.

Good and bad memories alike stay where they belong – in the past where they happened. They don’t spend much time pining for the good ol’ days because they are too busy making new memories now. The negative pulls from the past are used not for self-flagellation or unproductive regret, but rather productive regret where they use lessons learned as stepping stones towards a better future.

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4. Show me a positive person and I can show you a grateful person.

The most positive people are the most grateful people.  They do not focus on the potholes of their lives.  They focus on the pot of gold that awaits them every day, with new smells, sights, feelings and experiences.  They see life as a treasure chest full of wonder.

5. Rather than being stuck in their limitations, positive people are energized by their possibilities.

Optimistic people focus on what they can do, not what they can’t do.  They are not fooled to think that there is a perfect solution to every problem, and are confident that there are many solutions and possibilities.  They are not afraid to attempt new solutions to old problems, rather than spin their wheels expecting things to be different this time.  They refuse to be like Charlie Brown expecting that this time Lucy will not pull the football from him!

6. Positive people do not let their fears interfere with their lives!

Positive people have observed that those who are defined and pulled back by their fears never really truly live a full life. While proceeding with appropriate caution, they do not let fear keep them from trying new things. They realize that even failures are necessary steps for a successful life. They have confidence that they can get back up when they are knocked down by life events or their own mistakes, due to a strong belief in their personal resilience.

7. Positive people smile a lot!

When you feel positive on the inside it is like you are smiling from within, and these smiles are contagious. Furthermore, the more others are with positive people, the more they tend to smile too! They see the lightness in life, and have a sense of humor even when it is about themselves. Positive people have a high degree of self-respect, but refuse to take themselves too seriously!

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8. People who are positive are great communicators.

They realize that assertive, confident communication is the only way to connect with others in everyday life.  They avoid judgmental, angry interchanges, and do not let someone else’s blow up give them a reason to react in kind. Rather, they express themselves with tact and finesse.  They also refuse to be non-assertive and let people push them around. They refuse to own problems that belong to someone else.

9. Positive people realize that if you live long enough, there are times for great pain and sadness.

One of the most common misperceptions about positive people is that to be positive, you must always be happy. This can not be further from the truth. Anyone who has any depth at all is certainly not happy all the time.  Being sad, angry, disappointed are all essential emotions in life. How else would you ever develop empathy for others if you lived a life of denial and shallow emotions? Positive people do not run from the gamut of emotions, and accept that part of the healing process is to allow themselves to experience all types of feelings, not only the happy ones. A positive person always holds the hope that there is light at the end of the darkness.  

10. Positive person are empowered people – they refuse to blame others and are not victims in life.

Positive people seek the help and support of others who are supportive and safe.They limit interactions with those who are toxic in any manner, even if it comes to legal action and physical estrangement such as in the case of abuse. They have identified their own basic human rights, and they respect themselves too much to play the part of a victim. There is no place for holding grudges with a positive mindset. Forgiveness helps positive people become better, not bitter.

How about you?  How many habits of positive people do you personally find in yourself?  If you lack even a few of these 10 essential habits, you might find that the expected treasure at the end of the rainbow was not all that it was cracked up to be. How could it — if you keep on bringing a negative attitude around?

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I wish you well in keeping positive, because as we all know, there is certainly nothing positive about being negative!

Featured photo credit: Janaína Castelo Branco via flickr.com

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