6 Awesome Fitness Benefits of Muay Thai
Exercise is often broken down into two categories: cardio and strength (or weights). But there is much more to fitness, so branching out into other exercise programs that incorporate more aspects of fitness is wise—and can be extremely fun and effective. Is Muay Thai, an ancient kickboxing martial art from Thailand, worth considering for your fitness goals? These 6 advantages to Muay Thai training may help you decide to give it a try!
Along with cardio and strength, a well-rounded fitness program also trains in endurance and power. Muay Thai can arguably help you achieve all four of these goals, but endurance is perhaps one of the most beneficial for the fitness-focused participant who isn’t looking to get into competition shape. Cardio is important, but many gym goers can spend too much time on cardio at the expense of building and maintaining muscle. On the other hand, some strength-junkies spend a ton of time building muscle (and maybe training in power lifting) but don’t incorporate cardio or endurance. An ideal program accounts for all 4 elements—and Muay Thai is a great way to get there (especially with endurance). Endurance is the bridge between strength and cardiovascular conditioning—putting strength into action, activating skeletal and heart muscles over time. Basically, if you want to play with the kiddos, run all your errands, and have energy for a night out with your friends, endurance (stamina) truly makes life more enjoyable.
Sometimes we break exercise out into body part groups: legs, arms, etc. That’s not inaccurate, but the most effective (and safe, injury-reducing) exercise originates from your core. Martial arts like Muay Thai really focus on this. In fact, core strength is as important to kickboxing as it is to yoga or Pilates—and again contributes noticeably to quality of life.
If the core is the foundation of your body, it’s held up by another important foundation: your legs. Muay Thai builds incredible leg strength, not only through the various kicking techniques, but through proper stance, motion, and technique. Strong legs support great mobility and agility but have an additional advantage: the leg muscles are among the largest muscle groups in the body, so as they increase and therefore burn more calories for you, they can contribute to faster weight loss. Bonus!
Big muscles or lots of logged miles don’t add up to much overall “health” if you’re so stiff and inflexible that you pull a muscle reaching down to pick something up from the floor. Well-rounded fitness includes muscle and connective tissue flexibility. A practice like Muay Thai that is full of motion (along with cardio, strength, endurance, and power conditioning) produces increased flexibility and the ability to move through your daily life more easily. Plus, if you gain the ability to do a split, you can really wow your friends who thought you were “too old” to do such things!
Ever get so frustrated you just want to hit something? Well… that’s pretty much enough said. Rather than taking out your frustrations in inappropriate ways, Muay Thai training allows you to get out those frustrations while gaining great physical health in additional to mental discipline and focus. It’s not just about hitting things, but expending that energy in a beneficial way—especially after a tough day—can be pretty great.
Muay Thai training, like most group fitness classes, is a safe place to build amazing community. Common goals, passion, and mutual support makes each session a “can’t miss” experience—and one where your Muay Thai community will encourage you to reach new levels. It’s no place to go it alone—and that’s one of the greatest things about it!
Muay Thai is more than specialized martial arts training—it’s a great fitness choice that many avid exercisers should give a try. From to physical training to emotional benefits to a fitness community, the benefits of Muay Thai should put this fitness option on your workout radar.