How Taekwondo Can Boost Your Fitness
Participating in a martial arts program is a great way to boost your fitness; Taekwondo is no different. Similar to karate, this form of martial art focuses on kicking moves using the legs.
But how does it boost fitness? Basically in four ways…
Improves cardiovascular health
Most of the stand-up martial art programs, including Muay Thai, kickboxing and Krav Maga are cardio workouts to the nth degree. Because they raise your heart rate significantly, your heart and whole cardiovascular system gets stronger. And because you are also breathing harder, more oxygen is getting in your blood and to all the cells of your body, making them healthier. As your heart fitness improves, your blood pressure will get more toward the normal range and you’ll find your resting heart rate to be lower, meaning your heart doesn’t have to work as hard.
Helps manage weight
Because Taekwondo is such a great cardio training program, it tends to burn a lot of calories; a typical 150-pound person can burn on average 700 calories during a 1-hour session. However, calories expended do vary according to age, gender, body composition and the intensity of the workout, so the number your burn individually may be more or less. Keep in mind it only takes a 3,500 calorie deficit per week to lose a pound of weight. A couple sessions per week of Taekwondo can help reach your weight loss goal with healthy eating being the other half.
Increases muscle tone
Practicing Taekwondo not only increases flexibility, balance, agility and coordination, but because its moves use every major lower body and abdominal core muscle group, also tones and strengthens up these muscles making you stronger.
Improves mental health
So if this martial art form can help you lose weight (of which most will be body fat), and tones and strengthen muscle, wouldn’t you naturally feel happier? The answer is yes. When you look better, your self-esteem is higher and you are going to have a better overall feeling of yourself and a more positive outlook on life.
Not only does Taekwondo improve your mood, but it also relieves stress and increases your mental sharpness, adding to your improved mental health overall.
And if this is not enough, you’ll learn some moves which can help you protect yourself if you are ever attacked by an assailant. With knowing Taekwondo, you don’t have to be a helpless victim.
So if you are tired of doing the same thing over and over in your present fitness program, switch things up by replacing some of it with Taekwondo training.
4 Basic Movements of Taekwondo
Taekwondo movements are usually grouped into three kinds: hand, kicks and stances. Below are some basic types of each of the movements, along with a sample of how to do one of each kind.
There are two basic types of hand movements: striking and blocking. The first is an offensive move with the second being a defensive one.
Common strikes include:
- Middle punch
- Back fist
- TryFrom the starting stance, have your left foot well forward of your right foot.
- With your right hand outstretched by your side fist closed, top of your hand facing up, come up as hard as you can. Make sure your thumb is tucked alongside your clenched fingers and not tucked under them or wrapped on top. Otherwise you can end up with a broken thumb.
- Retract immediately back to the starting position before your attacker has a chance to grab you.
Blocks are defensive moves
- Outer Forearm
- Start with your dominant leg forward and your other leg back (with your foot pointing to the outside), arms bent and crossed in front of you.
- Twist your forward arm up so it is parallel with your body while at the same time bringing your other arm back and down behind you.
- This is a move used to deflect an attack outwards and away from the chest area.
These offensive movements involve learning proper foot placement in relation to the rest of the body. Common kicks include:
- With your target in front of you, lift your dominant knee. Most of your weight should be on your back leg.
oDrive your leg up while straightening it out as hard as you can.
- Retract your leg while bending at the knee and bringing your leg back to the starting stance.
Stances themselves are not either offensive or defensive moves but are starting positions from which the other moves evolve. Because form is so critical in Taekwondo, starting using the correct stance is key to proper execution of moves.
- Horse Riding
- Stand sideways to your opponent with your front foot pointing forward and your back foot sideways, making sure the heels of both feet are in a straight line with each other.
- With both legs slightly bent, make sure more than half your weight is on your back foot. From here you can execute a kick move.
Taekwondo skill is shown by the color of the belt worn around the waist. In all, there are 14 basic movements, which must be demonstrated to pass the 1st degree black belt test.