This article originally appeared promptly.com.?
To improve balance, power and agility, kickboxing is king among workouts. Pros who have studied the sport say nearly everyone-even seniors who might be put off by such things-can benefit from throwing a punch.
Unlike almost every other type of exercise, kickboxing emphasizes powerful movements. Power is different from strength, and for seniors, it’s an better still predictor of mobility as well as their risk for falls, says Kurt Jackson, an associate professor of neurology and rehab science in the University of Dayton in Ohio. “Pure strength is what a weightlifter uses, but producing power is about both force and speed,” he states.
Kickboxing training tends to involve shorts bouts, two to three minutes long, of intense, repetitive movement-like hitting a punching bag over and over again and kicking and kneeing a pad another person is holding. “If you appear at the research on high-intensity interval training workouts [HIIT], you see these short, intense periods of activity might have big benefits,” he says. Some research implies that even very brief stretches-just 60 seconds-of HIIT can offer the same gains in lung and heart health as 45 minutes of less-intense exercise.
Kickboxing can improve fitness, power, flexibility and agility, according to a study of healthy men in their twenties who trained three days per week for five weeks. The men within the study improved their upper and lower body power by about 7%, while shaving off more than a second from their amount of time in a 50-meter dash.
It also torches lots of calories. One study from the American Council on Exercise (ACE) found that the kind of punching-and-kicking combinations used in Tae Bo or “cardio kickboxing” classes burn a lot more than eight calories per minute-about exactly the same amount you’d burn while swimming.
The sport will usually increase coordination, even in probably the most extreme cases. Jackson studies the neuromuscular advantages of kickboxing practicing people with multiple sclerosis (MS), an ailment by which poor communication between the brain and muscles can result in falls or problems with activities that depend on multitasking, like walking and talking. Kickboxing helps strengthen neuromuscular control in people with the condition with techniques that improve balance, mobility and dual-tasking activities, he found.
The benefits likely affect older adults as well. Kickboxing improves both types of balance the body requires-anticipatory and reactive-and better balance reduces chance of falls or muscle weakness. “Anticipatory balance is something you utilize when you can visit a need coming, like when you’re stabilizing yourself to reach up right into a cupboard,” Jackson says. Reactive balance may be the type of mind-muscle coordination you have to catch your balance whenever you trip, or when life throws some unexpected object the right path.
Those skills are useful before you hit senior years. In case your exercise routine relies on lifting weights, running or yoga, your neuromuscular system might not be tuned to handle type of dynamic motion required for sports-even the ones you need to do just a few times a year, like skiing or pickup basketball. “You see these folks step or twist wrong and suffer major tears,” Jackson says. “Kickboxing training is a great way to avoid the type of injuries.”
However, the swift whole-body movements needed in kickboxing could also cause injuries. Back, knee, hip and shoulder strains are all common among kickboxers, found a study within the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research.
As with many other forms of vigorous exercise, if you’re a newbie, you need to ease into kickboxing gradually. “If you have a bad knee as well as other limitation, you need to possess a coach or physical therapist you never know how you can adapt a kickboxing program for your needs, and who will introduce it inside a controlled, systematic manner,” Jackson says. Don’t start too fast, and you will get the most benefits ultimately.