Workout Wednesday #5

by DavalosMcCormack on January 7, 2009

As we begin a new year many people are looking for ways to kick start their resolution to lead a healthier lifestyle. The best way to do that is to take it literally, by trying a kickboxing class. Kickboxing is the most invigorating, exhausting, fat-burning, strength-and-stamina building exercise I’ve ever done. And best of all it’s terrific fun.

According to a study by the American College on Exercise (ACE) kickboxing can burn 350 to 450 calories in a one hour class. It works the arms, chest, shoulders and back, core muscles and legs; it gets your heart pumping and your lungs working overtime to keep up. Even your ears hurt afterwards.

It’s also an amazing way to burn off stress. After a tough day at work or home there’s nothing like punching and kicking the snot out of a bag to shed all that tension. You come out feeling lighter, both physically and emotionally.

Because you are working so hard to follow the different combinations of kicking and punching you can’t think about anything else, so it really helps clear the mind.

There are many different kinds of kickboxing but my favorites are ones where you actually get to work with a punch bag. They are harder, more demanding, but also a lot more fun. And best of all, it doesn’t hit back.

You can certainly work up a sweat if you are just punching and kicking air, but when those punches and kicks end up against a bag you get so much more out of the class. There’s something wonderfully visceral about hitting a solid object (fortunately not too solid, and you are wearing gloves so you are protected). It’s a great way to release tension and stress.

The best way to start is find a class near you that is convenient to go to either on your way to work/school or on your way home and that has times that are convenient for you. The less effort you have to put into just getting to the class the more likely you are to keep going there if you enjoy it.

If you can, find a gym or club that offers reduced price or even free classes. Many clubs will offer introductory lessons to get new members in the door. Take advantage of several of those so you get a chance to see different clubs, different instructors. It will help you find the one that is best suited to what you are looking for.

Start slowly. If you haven’t done a kickboxing class before you need to ease into it. Good form is important in reducing your risk of hurting yourself, so find a class or instructor that starts out by showing you the proper technique. If they are taking the time to do that it suggests its a good program and people who are more interested in keeping you coming back rather than just keeping your money.

If I had to do just one exercise class, it would be kick boxing. I really can’t think of any better recommendation.

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