This article originally appeared on Time.com.
In order to improve balance, strength and flexibility, kickboxing is popular among training sessions. Experts who have studied sports say that almost anyone – even older people who shy away from such things – can benefit from a stroke.
Unlike most other types of exercises, kickboxing emphasizes strong movements. Strength is different from strength, and for older adults, it's an even better predictor of mobility and risk of falls, says Kurt Jackson, an associate professor of neurology and rehab science at the University of Dayton, Ohio. "Pure power is what a weightlifter uses, but producing power is both power and speed."
Kickboxing training involves two to three minute long, violent, repetitive movements ̵
Kickboxing has been shown to improve fitness, strength, flexibility and flexibility, according to a study of healthy men in their twenties who trained three days a week for five weeks. The men in the study improved their upper and lower body strength by about 7%, while shaving more than a second from their time in a 50-meter run.
There are also a lot of calories burning. A study by the American Council on Exercise (ACE) found that the types of beat-and-punch combinations used in Tae Bo or "Cardio Kickboxing" burn more than eight calories per minute – about the same amount, which one burns while swimming
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Sport can also improve coordination, even in the most extreme cases. Jackson explores the neuromuscular benefits of kickboxing training for people with multiple sclerosis (MS), where poor brain-muscle communication can lead to falls or problems with activities that rely on multitasking, such as walking and speaking. Kickboxing is helping to strengthen neuromuscular control in people with the disease who are improving balance, mobility and dual-tasking activities.
The benefits probably also apply to older adults. Kickboxing improves both types of balance the body needs – anticipatory and reactive – and better balance reduces the risk of falls or muscle weakness. "Anticipatory balance is something you use when you feel a need to come, like stabilizing yourself to lock yourself in a closet," says Jackson. The reactive balance is the kind of mind-muscle coordination you need to find your balance when you stumble or when your life throws unexpected objects on your way.
These skills are useful before you get into old age. If your routine is weightlifting, jogging or yoga-based, your neuromuscular system may not be tuned to the kind of dynamic exercise that is required for the sport – even if you only train a few times a year, such as skiing or basketball. "You see these people stepping or turning wrong and suffering big tears," says Jackson. "Kickboxing training is a great way to avoid this type of injury."
The rapid body movements required for kickboxing can also cause injury. Back, knee, hip and shoulder strains are common in kickboxers, according to a study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research .
As with most other sports, when you're a freshman It's important to gradually dive into kickboxing. "If you have a bad knee or other limitation, it's important to have a trainer or physiotherapist who knows how to tailor a kickboxing program to your needs and who controls and systematically introduces it," says Jackson. Start slowly, and you will end up benefitting the most.