The Benefits of Cardio Kickboxing

The line between martial arts and professional cardio workout routines is kind of blurry; the difference between learning how to do a high kick and learning how to do a knee pull to an aerobic exercise tape is not that wide. That said, there are a lot of reasons to take up martial arts, ranging from self confidence building to general exercise and working on balance. One kind of exercise program that's sweeping the gym set is the cardio kickboxing workout.

The original cardio kickboxing program was called Tae Bo, and popularized by martial artist Billy Blanks. Tae Bo combines aerobic dance routines with short, sharp punches and kicks pulled from tae kwon do and boxing to create a high energy, high performance workout. Tae Bo itself has been trademarked, so the generic term 'cardio kickboxing' has been used instead for similar workouts and similar styles of exercise.

The line between martial arts and professional cardio workout routines is kind of blurry; the difference between learning how to do a high kick and learning how to do a knee pull to an aerobic exercise tape is not that wide. That said, there are a lot of reasons to take up martial arts, ranging from self confidence building to general exercise and working on balance. One kind of exercise program that's sweeping the gym set is the cardio kickboxing workout.

What's important to understand about cardio kickboxing as an exercise program is that it's got elements of a martial art, but it is not adequate self defense training on its own. It does not teach good blocking form, it does not teach throws or ground movements, or anything you might actually need for self defense, other than how to throw a punch or kick. People who learn cardio kickboxing routines have a head start in learning how to take up muay thai or tae kwon do, because a lot of the motions are very similar, and they'll have the fitness benefits to build on as a foundation.

Cardio kickboxing has some significant fitness benefits. It's a very high intensity aerobic workout; your heart will be beating fast, you will be sweating and you will be burning calories while doing it. It's also a lot more fun – and enjoyable – than most aerobic routines, and if you've spent too much time on a stair climber or a treadmill, you know exactly how much fun matters in keeping you at your workout routine.

Cardio kickboxing emphasizes balance and mobility; you may start out feeling like a klutz doing cardio kickboxing, because the motions feel strange, but you will rapidly improve your balance and coordination while doing it. It's also a great way to build on flexibility, because it requires that your body move in ways that are challenging to it. A typical workout of one hour is good for about 500 calories burned off in a session, about twice what a step aerobics class will do.

One thing you should be aware of is that kickboxing is not low impact in any way, shape or form. If you've got back stiffness or bad knees, this is not the right workout for you. It's also not the right workout for a couch potato; get into step aerobics first, while maintaining a targeted heart rate, then get into cardio kickboxing. Muscle strains and sprains are fairly common at first.

Cardio kickboxing is also a great 'alternate day' program to do when doing weight training; it's a great overall body workout that helps reinforce the muscle building you're doing, while maintaining flexibility and building up an aerobic wind.