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Looking for a way to mix up your fitness routine, but worried you’ll be too bored with “normal” exercises? Let’s face it, not everyone wants to spend hours picking heavy things up and setting them down, and the view from the treadmill can get monotonous. Martial arts are fun, but they’re also not everyone’s cup of tea. Why not try cardio kickboxing? It’s a fun, exciting workout you won’t get tired of, with all the fun but none of the fighting of martial arts.
Not only is cardio kickboxing fun, it offers a host of health benefits. Here are a few of the reasons to try it out:
It’s Easier on Your Joints
Compared to jogging, cardio kickboxing is extremely low impact. Participants usually stand and face the instructor, and follow his or her movements. The instructor may also demonstrate a series of moves and allow participants to follow at their own speed.
The main movements are punches and kicks. These may be in the air, or, ideally, against a bag. Don’t worry, though – even striking the bag can easily be toned down to a lower impact. There are also usually warm up and cool down periods. These exercises and stretches get your body moving in a more gentle way.
If you have an injury or are otherwise unable to perform a movement, your instructor can give you tips for adapting the routine to fit your needs. Most instructors are used to students making adjustments, and many even promote them. Since cardio kickboxing doesn’t involve sparring against an opponent, you can get a good workout in a relatively injury-free environment.
It Works your Whole Body
Although everyone is different, you can expect to burn about 500 to 600 calories in a cardio kickboxing class. Unlike some other group fitness classes, cardio kickboxing keeps your body moving at all times, keeping your heart rate elevated. You might want to bring a towel, as you’re sure to break a sweat!
This exercise works both core and small muscle groups, to deliver a killer full-body workout. Expect to get a nice burn in your quads and your hip abductors, as well as in your obliques. Because this cardio fitness exercise makes you continually shift weight from one area to another, your abs are activated, working your core. Cardio kickboxing is a great way to shed pounds, tone up and gain muscle.
It’s a Fun Way to Reduce Stress
Sometimes, there’s nothing more therapeutic than punching or kicking something, even if it’s just a bag. Instructors usually focus on the natural stress relief that cardio kickboxing provides by encouraging you to engage every muscle with each action. As you punch faster and kick higher, you’ll feel more in control of the world around you. You can take out the frustration that has piled up inside from bad traffic, problems at work and day-to-day challenges, in a healthy way.
(Learn more about the lesser-known benefits of exercise here!)
It Shows Your Heart Some Love
Increasing your heart rate is good for your heart health, and cardio kickboxing definitely does the trick. There are enormous proven benefits of cardio exercise (although you should be sure to take things at your own pace at first, and ask your doctor before jumping into anything too strenuous)!
Cardio exercises get the heart working, and improved heart health helps blood pump through the body more easily. When your heart muscle works properly, your blood pressure remains at optimal levels. You might notice that you can climb stairs without getting as winded or play with your kids without needing to stop for air. Along with a healthy diet, exercise decreases bad cholesterol and increases good cholesterol. This lowers your risk of heart disease.
You’ll Become More Coordinated
Cardio kickboxing might not make you a ninja, but it can help your reflexes and coordination. This style of exercise makes you activate different parts of the body for different movements. For example, a cardio kickboxing routine includes activities like squatting, shifting your weight from side to side, performing upper cuts, and dipping down into lunges. With all this movement, you’ll find your center, and all movement will come off that center. At first, some of the moves or stances might be difficult, but the more you do them, the more they’ll become second nature.
This improved coordination can help you throughout the day, including avoiding falls, using the right muscles for lifting groceries and even doing other sports. Cardio kickboxing is also a good exercise for increasing your flexibility and improving your posture. These traits can help you in all other areas of life, whether bending to pick up a dropped pen or sitting at your desk.
It Boosts Your Self-Confidence
You’ve probably seen more than one article about how martial arts can help boost confidence and teach other values, especially to children. Although cardio kickboxing isn’t a martial art, it offers many of the same mental benefits, the biggest being increased self-confidence.
For starters, getting into better physical shape can improve confidence. Many people find that improving how the look improves how they feel, and even if your outside appearance doesn’t change, the endorphins released from exercise will make you feel better, boosting self-esteem.
When you strike a bag in cardio kickboxing, it is an empowering experience. Many people aren’t aware of how strong they already are, and how hard they can hit. Getting to discover that part of yourself is a wake-up call: you start to think, “I wonder how much else I can do!”
With the right equipment and some workout clothes, you can start cardio kickboxing very easily! Most mainstream gyms offer cardio kickboxing classes, and there are entire boutique or specialty gyms devoted to just those classes! If you have a bag, you can even work out at home, using a video tutorial – like this series offered by Kaytlin “Katniss” Neil, or this one by Tyler “The Zombie” Hill, both pro MMA fighters.
Cardio kickboxing is an amazing and effective way to exercise! Just remember, the important thing isn’t what you do, just that you get moving – so if you think this sounded like fun, what are you waiting for? Go try a class today!