There are two basic types of kickboxing: aerobic kickboxing, which improves physical fitness, and combat kickboxing, which provides exercise and prepares participants for kickboxing tournaments. Many workouts use variations of kickboxing because the effects of this exercise impart many fitness benefits.
No matter what type of kickboxing you choose, you'll get a strong aerobic workout. Aerobic exercise -- sometimes called cardio -- can melt away the pounds by burning more calories than strength training or spot-toning. Regular cardiovascular exercise can also reduce your risk of cardiovascular problems, obesity, diabetes and some types of cancer, according to MayoClinic.com. Because you're often kicking or punching while kickboxing, the exercise is particularly effective at helping you learn to control your breathing and maintain your coordination during an intense cardio session.
Kickboxing combines strength-based routines with aerobic exercise, making it an ideal workout routine. Landing punches and practicing kicks improves muscle strength and coordination, and can even help you gain better balance. Many kickboxers lift weights and engage in other strength training routines to get stronger; regular strength training can reduce muscle pain and decrease your risk of diseases such as osteoporosis, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Alongside these improvements in physical strength often comes an improvement in self-defense skills. While there's no guarantee that any routine can help you fight off an attacker, learning how to land blows and kicks could help you feel safer.
Like all sports, kickboxing has a risk of injury, and certain injuries are particularly common with the sport. A 2004 study at East Stroudsburg University in Pennsylvania found that 15 percent of kickboxing class participants and 31 percent of instructors had experienced an injury. Muscle strains in the back, knees and ankles are the most common injury. Stretching, performing warmups and maintaining proper kickboxing form can help reduce your risk of injury.
Mental Health Effects
According to the Sports and Fitness Industry Association, kickboxing is a highly effective strategy for reducing anxiety and stress. The combative nature of the sport can serve as a healthy outlet for aggression and negative emotions. Harvard Health Publications points out that regular aerobic exercise can reduce depression and boost mood.