With midterm season hanging around and increasing my cravings for cookies at all points in the day, I’m looking for a fun and effective cardio class that I can work into my weekly schedule. If dancing and Power Remix aren’t your thing, Kickboxing Aerobics is another awesome class for cardio that you could try. Although Power Remix was a lot of fun, I think I like Kickboxing Aerobics more (thank you to the reader who suggested I try it!). This class mixes martial arts (kicks and punches) with lots of jumping, squatting, and shuffling in order to create a high-energy, high-intensity workout that not only gets your heart rate up, but also tones your muscles. There are many different forms of kickboxing, with intensity ranging from everyday workout classes like the one I tried to self-defense and competitive sport. Kickboxing was historically developed from different forms of Karate, Muay Thai, Kun Khmer, and (of course) Boxing, so this workout class made me feel badass and powerful while also seriously working my body. Moreover, this class is great for stress relief because you can just punch and kick all of your anger, frustration, and stress out.
After doing a short warm-up, the bulk of the workout focuses on combinations of kicks and punches that are performed in a ladder/pyramid like sequence. For example, we did one series of eight jabs, eight hooks, and 8 upper cuts (repeated twice), then dropped down to four jabs, four hooks, and four upper cuts (repeated twice), then dropped down again to two of each kind of punch. The focus is on trying to make the movements as sharp, forceful, and powerful as possible while also sustaining your strength over a long period of time.
There are no breaks during the class (although there is some active recovery like light jump roping), so your heart rate stays elevated for the entire class. The fact that we didn’t take breaks was difficult for me because I don’t have great endurance yet, and towards the end of the class my kicks were definitely getting weaker and weaker… Because kicking and punching are whole body movements, this is a great workout class for total body exercise which specifically target the arms and legs while building core strength, balance, and stamina. I particularly liked this class because it’s incredible at working and toning the arms. I don’t usually work my arms because I don’t like lifting weights, but the punches in this class target every muscle in the arms effectively without the use of any added weights; I am definitely going to be sore for a couple days. If you guys are curious about any of the moves I mentioned or want to try out (or just watch) a kickboxing workout before you go to the class, this video below is a kickboxing workout I used to do a lot at home.
Switching gears a little bit from details of the workout, this was the first time I’ve noticed participants in the workout classes who weren’t of the “typical” student age. There were two older women in this kickboxing class with me, and I wanted to take a moment to encourage any older readers (or perhaps you could encourage friends or parents who work at the University) to take advantage of the classes offered through Penn State! While I can imagine how someone might feel awkward coming to a workout class if everybody else is a lot younger, exercising is even more important as we get older because it can help boost energy, strengthen bones, stabilize muscles, protect heart health, manage certain pains like arthritis, and improve cognitive functions (among myriad other benefits). All of the classes I have attended have been welcoming and friendly, and there are always modifications on moves to make them easier or harder to fit your needs. If any of you are interested, this web page does a great job of laying out some information about exercising throughout life and how everyone can build exercise plans that work for them.
Overall, I think Kickboxing Aerobics has joined the ranks of one of my favorite workout classes at Penn State. Although I’m not as strong as I want to be and I don’t have a lot of stamina yet, this is a fantastic class that will help me get to where I want to be.