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For a new you in a new year, give kickboxing a try

Kandy Childress, Healthy Kingsport • Jan 31, 2019 at 9:00 PM

Self-improvement. Science reveals that while many make resolutions, only a few are able to achieve their goals. Studies show that 75 percent of people keep their resolutions intact for only one month. Six months later, fewer are still on target.

It’s not surprising that only 8 percent of resolution-makers actually accomplish what they set out to do.

While the science may paint a bleak picture, not all is lost.

The good news is research shows people who make resolutions are 10 times more likely to change behavior than those who never commit. The trick, according to Professor Weisman of England’s University of Hertfordshire, is to select one goal that can be achieved in spite of our chaotic and busy lives.

My “new-me goal” for 2019 was to return to kickboxing — a sport I tried for the first time over 10 years ago while living in Atlanta. Kickboxing was a natural evolution for me as I had trained in both taekwondo and hoshindo, experiencing the many benefits martial arts have to offer. So, what are those benefits?

NO. 1 — LEARN HOW TO DEFEND YOURSELF

The basic striking techniques performed using your hands, legs, elbows, and knees during a kickboxing class can be employed effectively in a selfdefense situation. These techniques are practical movements that can be executed by regular people — like you and me — in street clothes, not martial arts uniforms. The goal is to be capable of defending yourself well enough to make a quick exit from a dangerous situation. Selfdefense training is especially useful for women, especially young women, who are often the targets of predators.

NO. 2 — IT IS A SOCIAL ACTIVITY

Joining a kickboxing class connects you to others — friends, coworkers, and even folks who probably would have never crossed your path. The connection is meaningful because it produces a feeling of belonging, creates camaraderie toward reaching the class workout goals, and gives you a motivational boost to move beyond your perceived limitations.

Two of my coworkers — Dana McMurray and Lora Barnett — recently joined me at Bushido Academy in Kingsport to give kickboxing a try. The hour flew by because we encouraged each other to push beyond our comfort zones, punching and kicking more effectively, all while getting an incredible workout.

NO. 3 — BUILD CARDIO, STRENGTH, FLEXIBILITY AND BALANCE

Kickboxing is the total body workout. A single hour of kickboxing burns 600 calories for a 125-pound person, 744 calories for a 155-pound person, and 888 calories for a 185-pound person. If you convert kickboxing to steps using Walker Tracker — the physical activity portal used by Healthy Kingsport for the 3 Million Mile Challenge — you amass 17,400 steps or 8.7 miles of physical activity for a one-hour class. That’s an incredible amount of miles for just one hour.

Kickboxing also strengthens, tones, and enlarges literally every single muscle in your body. It is especially beneficial for your arms, legs and core. Who doesn’t want a great core? And, if you desire better flexibility and balance, kickboxing is an excellent choice as the sport increases your range of motion, which is something important for countering shifts in weight, especially as we age.

NO. 4 — ANYONE CAN DO IT

Whether you are a preteen, young adult, or mature adult, kickboxing is a great choice because it is a sport that enables you to determine how hard you train and the pace at which you work out. There really is no better way to get a total body workout, socialize while exercising, and glean some basic striking techniques that could very well save your life.

Consider making your “new-you goal” for 2019 to enroll in a kickboxing class. Don’t forget to grab a fitness buddy and literally kick it into gear!

Kandy Childress is the executive director of Healthy Kingsport. She can be reached at [email protected] healthykingsport.org .

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