Friday, October 9, 2009

Kick & Box for Fitness

High Energy, sweaty bodies and pumping music is what comes to mind when you think of a kickboxing class in your health club. Kick-boxing and variants like Tae-bo, Cardio Kickboxing are quite popular these days and promise high returns on investment!!
Traditionally, Kick boxing is considered as a contact-sport whereby moves from martial arts and boxing are combined to defeat the opponents, with some standard rules. However, in the realm of fitness, it is modified into rhythmic kicking and boxing movements and self-defense moves targeting the cardio-vascular system without or with minimum use of padding or other safety guards.
The advantages of Kickboxing are -
· Since it involves a high proportion of leg muscles, it gives an intense endurance and cardio workout.
· It improves alertness, coordination abilities, flexibility and above all brings in discipline and a sense of self-empowerment!
· When used wisely and with inanimate objects (!) it can be used to vent out anger and frustration!
Somethings you have to be careful about –
· Know your current fitness level. Kick-boxing, as is the case with any martial art form, focuses much on ‘core stability’. The core muscles are your deep muscles of the mid-region of the body (like rectus abdominus, ). These muscles are, in most people not well-trained due to sedentary lifestyles, over-weight, obesity and postural problems.
· Hence, start out slow and keep the intensity low at the beginning inorder to avoid excessive stress on the knees and lower-back. Use it as a progression from the Aerobics class or after atleast a month of ‘regular’ gymming and body conditioning. A group can be quite motivating but do remember your individual capacity and avoid over-doing it.
· Warm up thoroughly – especially your leg muscles (hamstrings, quadriceps, calves), lower back muscles and shoulder muscles. A warm-up based on dynamic stretches targeting these muscle groups is ideal to avoid strain injuries.
· Build your base well – Learn the techniques, body positioning and speed of the kicks and boxes to get the best out of your workout.
· Also remember to cool down well using static stretches, hydrate yourself well and incase you feel breathless in between, remember to slow down without stopping abruptly.

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