Kickboxing: The Ultimate Empowering Workout
When you combine martial arts techniques with fast-paced cardio, you get a high-energy workout unlike any other. Kickboxing may torch calories and fat — and offer a total body tone-up — but the real kicker is the incredible sense of self-confidence it builds.
“Kickboxing lets you tap into your inner strength and focus. You walk away with a unique sense of empowerment,” says Aya Matsune, CA kickboxing instructor. “My passion is to help others by sharing the sense of community and confidence that come with kickboxing.”
The health benefits of kickboxing
It’s no secret why kickboxing is so dang empowering: What’s better than being able to kick some butt while looking great? Plus, having the ability to protect yourself in an emergency situation is an invaluable asset. So too is the self-awareness and mind-body connection you gain, which makes you feel ready to take on the world.
In just one class, you reap the benefits of agility training, endurance and heart-pumping cardio — which include increased stamina, coordination and flexibility as you burn calories (up to eight per minute) and develop lean muscle.
According to Matsune, the greatest benefit of all is the core strength you develop.
“Every single punch and kick requires a strong core to keep your balance,” she says. “You are training your core the entire class. After all, you can’t fight a good fight if you lose your balance!”
Get a kick out of your workout
Improved fitness, power, flexibility and agility…what’s not to love?
The great thing is, we can all benefit from throwing a punch or two, no matter our age and fitness level. After all, everyone needs a healthy outlet for relieving stress. Using an actual punching bag to take out your frustrations (versus a loved ones or unlucky stranger on the street) improves your relationship with yourself and others.
Because it improves both types of balance — anticipatory and reactive — it’s especially beneficial for helping older adults reduce the risk of falls or muscle weakness (to learn more about balance training for seniors here, check out our blog post). Kickboxing is also one of the few types of exercise that builds power, which is different from just brute strength. Power is about force and speed, and most importantly, is what keeps you mobile and independent well into your golden years.
It can be intimidating to walk into your first class, but kickboxing is truly an inclusive, beginner-friendly class where all skill levels are welcome. Here’s a few words of wisdom from Matsune to help you feel comfortable.
- Don’t be shy to make mistakes! It’s totally normal to not get the right move with your first try. If punch/kicks combinations get to be too much, you can just focus on foot steps and keep moving.
- Feel free to take modifications. There is zero judgment on taking gentler options!
- Give yourself 3-4 classes to try out to see if you really like it. Sometimes members get overwhelmed in a first class and give it up. It takes at least a few times to get the basic technique. You will be able to enjoy and challenge more once you get more comfortable with them.
- Relax and have fun with awesome music and people!
Currently, kickboxing classes are held at Columbia Athletic Club, and we’d love for you to join us. The schedule is subject to change; you can check our website for updates.
Questions? Email Group.Fitness@ColumbiaAssociation.org.