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Why Is Kickboxing a Good Workout?

author image Elisabeth Dahl
Elisabeth Dahl is a freelance writer and copyeditor who has worked in publishing since 1991. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Johns Hopkins University and a Master of Arts degree from Georgetown University, where she was a Writing Center Associate Fellow.
Why Is Kickboxing a Good Workout?
female kick boxer Photo Credit: Jupiterimages/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Cardio kickboxing developed from three separate disciplines: martial arts, aerobics and boxing. Rather than challenging competitors, cardio kickboxers challenge themselves to improve their overall fitness. Whether you sign up for kickboxing classes at your gym or buy workout DVDs to try in the comfort of your family room, you're likely to find that kickboxing has numerous benefits for both your physical and your mental health.

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Calorie Burning

Like other forms of aerobic exercise, kickboxing is a terrific way for you to burn calories. According to Harvard Medical School, a 155-pound person burns around 372 calories during a 30-minute kickboxing class. Heavier people, people who work out more intensely and people who work out for longer periods will burn even more calories.

Cardiovascular Fitness and Toning

Kickboxing classes and workout DVDs tend to begin with a warm-up period lasting 10 or 15 minutes, then move into a more intense phase of kicks, punches and knee strikes that raise your heart rate considerably, moving it into the target zone where the most cardiovascular conditioning occurs. According to KidsHealth, this more intense phase may last a half-hour. In addition to training and strengthening your heart, these exercises help tone other parts of your body as well, such as your arms and legs.

Balance, Flexibility and Coordination

Because kickboxing involves following sequences of moves, it may improve your coordination. You may also find your balance improving as you do kicks on one leg, then the other. The cool-down periods that conclude kickboxing classes and workout DVDs involve a lot of stretching, which will increase your flexibility.

Mental Health

The kicking and punching moves that are the hallmark of kickboxing can release stress, anger and frustration. In addition, you may find that kickboxing improves your confidence level and your feeling of self-esteem. Although kickboxing classes are not the same as self-defense classes, kickboxing may teach you basic self-defense skills, KidsHealth notes.


Kickboxing classes and videotapes offer a nice alternative to other forms of aerobic activity, such as doing step aerobics or running on a treadmill. If you're bored with your current workout routines and enjoy following an instructor's moves, kickboxing may put some variety back into your fitness life. Beginning fitness enthusiasts may want to take it slowly at first, as kickboxing is usually high-impact and high-intensity. KidsHealth suggests checking with your health care provider before beginning any exercise regimen and building up to kickboxing with less intense aerobic activities, such as low-impact aerobics.

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