Kickboxing: Fun Way To Fitness

Words: Dr Rajgopal NIDAMBOOR

You have been doing your exercise for improved, or better, cardiac health for a while, or for a long period of time. It is possible, therefore, that familiarity with your fitness routine may have brought in a dose of boredom into your regular exercise plan. You may have also asked yourself: whether you are not yet bored doing the unchanged routine?

Like all good things available in life for which you need not pay a hefty bill, you can now get out of your exercise boredom, if you are heading there. All you need to do is embark on a new workout, which is not only fun, but also good for your cardiac fitness. Care to guess? Well, the idea is called kickboxing.

Maybe, it is time for you to kick-start the programme. One of the most exciting and most modern workouts around, kickboxing, also referred to as boxing aerobics and cardio-kickboxing, is a fusion of boxing, martial arts and calisthenics. It offers a powerful combination-training and complete body workout.

Put simply, kickboxing merges high-power exercise practices with a single focus — to strengthen the body and mind. In the process, it decreases stress. Besides, it improves reflexes and provides for increased stamina and cardiovascular fitness.

Kickboxing, in actual terms, is related to what is called as full-contact fighting. However, its use as a cardio-fitness programme does not conform to the definition: fighting. Most trainers testify that it is not only safe, but also an extremely enjoyable fitness regimen, which is attracting more and more heart-fitness enthusiasts.

It is estimated that kickboxing helps one burn 500-800 calories per hour — provided one is able to do workout on the plan at high intensity. Not everyone is endowed to doing exercises in this manner, though. Hence, trainers observe that persons with normal build are most likely to burn 300-350 calories during a typical 40-minute workout session. Each session is composed of a warm-up, aerobic exercises, and after-workout cool-down session.

Like all exercise practices or programmes, kickboxing is not for everyone. You need to give thought to your current fitness level and goals. Ideally, you need to talk to your doctor before you consider your first ‘kick’ into the exercise programme.

Guide To Kickboxing

  • Fitness centres/clubs offer the programme on a regular basis
  • If you are physically fit, you can combine your present workout plan with a kickboxing routine right away
  • If you are into combination exercises, or a single plan of physical fitness, then begin slowly and evolve into a kickboxing programme. It is important that your body adapts to the practice
  • A 40-minute workout may not suit everyone, again — so, it is best to be practical, and stick to a schedule of concentrated activity for a period for which you are comfortable.

Basics Of Kickboxing

Kick-start your programme with a warm-up. Most important: you need to give enough thought to proper technique. You need to wear comfortable, loose-fit clothing. This allows you to get enough freedom of movement during your kickboxing workout. You also need to be duly hydrated — it is good for you to drink plenty of water. For advanced workouts some fitness centres supply kickboxing gloves and equipment too.

It is always advisable for you to begin with basic stretches and simple cardiovascular warm-up practices, such as slow spot-jogging sessions. You may also do push-ups — however, you would need to get your doctor’s okay. Push-up is a resistance-exercise plan — it is not, for instance, recommended for individuals with high blood pressure.

A Typical Kickboxing Session

  • Begin with a series of repetitive punches alternating with hand strikes
  • Follow this with kicks and a combination of punches, hand strikes and kicks [three-in-one]
  • Repeat your act a few times if you so wish, again, and focus on proper technique. You may, at the same time, also engage your workout on other muscles groups — which leads to a total cardiac workout.
  • Once this is accomplished, you may end your session with stretching exercises, followed by floor exercises — to cool down.

Sample Kickboxing Exercise

There are a few exercises in the plan. Let us focus on two of the most basic and popular lower-body kickboxing exercises. The duo works on your hamstrings, gluteus and quadriceps muscles.

  1. Start from a basic stance. Face the punching bag side-on, bend your knees slightly, with your shoulder-length apart. Now, lift your right knee and direct it to the right of the bag. Stand on your left foot as you extend your right leg. Ready? Kick the bag with the top of your foot. This is called the ‘Roundhouse Kick’
  2. Start from your basic stance. Pull your right knee up towards your left shoulder. Stand on your left foot. As you now snap your right leg into your target, hit your punching bag with the outside edge of your foot, or your heel. The choice is yours. This manoeuvre is called the ‘Side-Kick.’

Kickboxing Tips For Beginners

  • Never use dumbbells, or weights, when you throw punches. You risk injury if you do so
  • Do not lock your joints when you kick, or punch
  • Do not over-extend your kicks, or try to attain high-kicks. You need to get used to them, and also become more flexible to extend them, if you wish to. This will come through constant practice
  • Never ever exercise to show your prowess, or ‘bet’ with someone on your staying power
  • Stop exercising the moment you feel fatigued
  • Remember: you also need to have a trainer, because cardio-kickboxing is a combination exercise — a blend of aerobics, martial arts and different techniques
  • Also, make sure that you know the basics, and get the ‘okay’ from your doctor to engage in the programme
  • Cardio-kickboxing is an excellent stress-relieving, total-body workout plan. When performed properly, and regularly, it is sure to take you to a new level of cardiac health and overall fitness. 

Basic Kickboxing Equipment

Kickboxing may not look aesthetic to begin with. It can only be mastered with time, devotion, patience, and practice. It is also advisable to perform kickboxing exercises in front of a mirror. As regards kickboxing equipment, a punching bag, and kickboxing gloves, or hit pads, is all that you would need as equipment.

Dr RAJGOPAL NIDAMBOOR, PhD, is a wellness physician-writer-editor, independent researcher, critic, columnist, author and publisher. His published work includes hundreds of newspaper, magazine, web articles, essays, meditations, columns, and critiques on a host of subjects, eight books on natural health, two coffee table tomes and an encyclopaedic treatise on Indian philosophy. He is Chief Wellness Officer, Docco360 — a mobile health application/platform connecting patients with Ayurveda, homeopathic and Unani physicians, and nutrition therapists, among others, from the comfort of their home — and, Editor-in-Chief, ThinkWellness360.

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