Author: MIKE SELVON
Are you looking for an immensely popular way to get yourself into great shape and have some fun along the way? If so, kickboxing is an activity that is very fun and that is sometimes overlooked.
As in boxing, it boasts many health benefits such as greater stamina, improved flexibility and enhancing core strength — all while working out to your favorite music.
The real roots of kickboxing actually go all the way back about 2,000 years to Asian cultures. But, the modern version of this competitive sport was introduced in the 1970s in the United States when karate authorities made arrangements for exhibition demonstrations that allowed for full-contact punches and kicks which were previously banned from karate competitions.
Due to safety concerns, protective clothing and padding was introduced and strict safety rules were instituted for the new sport and eventually various forms of competitive kickboxing evolved into the forms that are now practiced in the United States.
In the competitive area there are a few different styles of kickboxing that can be observed. The main differences in these styles are simply the variations in some of the techniques and also the amount of body contact that is allowed under different rules.
But, the form of this sport that is bringing fun and excellent results to the fitness world is called cardiovascular (cardio) or aerobic kickboxing.
This form of the sport brings in elements of traditional boxing and aerobics in a major way. This, teamed with martial arts, creates a workout that provides great toning and overall conditioning.
However, unlike the competitive version of this sport, the cardio one does not include physical contact between participants and is not at all competitive. It has simply been designed to be an aerobic activity that is done to gain the many physical benefits of the actions.
A common way to enjoy the cardio one is to participate in a class. Classes usually start out with a warm-up period of 10 to 15 minutes and often includes gentle stretching as well as incorporating some standard exercises, such as push-ups and jumping jacks.
The warm-up is then followed by a 30 to 40 minute workout session that integrates kicks, punches, knee-strikes and other beneficial moves.
Some classes even include the use of traditional boxing equipment such as jump ropes and punching bags. After the workout, the class wraps up with five to ten minutes of cool down activities which is often followed by 10 minutes of stretching and muscle toning.
The stretching is an important component of the overall workout and should not be skipped, even if you are tempted to do so, especially if you are a beginner.
A common problem for beginners is pulling or straining their muscles. However, by doing proper stretching that is slow and gentle, this can help prevent injury and help the muscles to relax. This will assure that beginners don’t give up before they start to enjoy the benefits.
Even though kickboxing is a very fun activity, it needs to be recognized that it is also quite a high-impact sport. If you are not used to such high-intensity workouts, then you should begin with a more moderate aerobic activity to prepare.