The ancient martial art of Thai Boxing that has been around for 1000’s of years. It has become increasingly popular around the world in recent years. This has been helped by the rapid growth of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) and the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). Though competition in the sport may not be everyone’s cup of tea, we should not ignore the health benefits. Thai Boxing and the prevention of injuries offered by training in it are vast.
Similar benefits to that of a High-Intensity Interval Training
Thai boxing offers similar benefits to that of a High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) class. The cardiovascular improvements and fat burning elements of this style of training are extremely effective. This has been proven time and again. Classes are often mixed in with different exercises between rounds such as push-ups and the ever-favourite jumping burpee. A typical class tends to be anywhere between 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Thai boxing is also fondly known as, “the science of 8 limbs,”. This means one will use 8 points on their body to strike by the end of a session; kicks, punches, knees, and elbows. Participants will always feel like they have had a whole-body workout.
With an ageing population, the need for health promotion is increasing. With age, the body naturally loses the ability to maintain strength and flexibility as easily as in youth. Hence there is a need to increase awareness and invest time in exercising through the week.
Thai Boxing helps build a strong core
Back pain is the leading cause of disability in the world, once back injuries have set in it can negatively affect every aspect of one’s life, from work duties to simply putting on a pair of socks. Office workers sitting at desks all day developing tighter hips, irritated lower backs and weak gluteal muscles; to labourers constantly carrying heavy loads and with bad technique causing shearing of spinal structures, back pain will affect 80% of people at some point in their life. The greatest prevention to any kind of back complications is education and to have a strong core. The nature of every movement executed in Thai boxing over time will build a strong core that will, in turn, provide a robust “scaffolding” to protect your spine from injury. Additionally, the flexibility gained through pre/post stretching and the various punches and kicks will further keep back injuries at bay.
Besides the health benefits, injury-preventing qualities, social aspects, and discipline people can take away from being part of the sport; the simple act of beating the heck out of a heavy punching bag at the end of a long day at work is a very welcome stress reliever to many! A surge of the body’s “happy hormones,” called endorphins, are released during such activities. There are endless effects of endorphins on the body; stress relief, improved sleep and even pain relief. I would encourage everybody to give Thai boxing a go and I guarantee that you will feel positive changes in your body and mind in just a couple of classes.
Article written by James Bird, Chartered Physiotherapist @ Capital Physio