Image from Pexels

Image from Pexels

Anger, passion, rage… These intense emotions, and ones of the like, are freeing when they are able to be expressed, but unfortunately seldom are. One of the best remedies for an aching heart or to clear a frazzled mind is to “let go”, but you may wonder in what way you can do so. If you’re looking for a way to part with whatever angst and frustration that you may be holding on to, there is one activity that encompasses the perfect balance of strength and channeling of emotions, and is sure to treat whatever stresses you are dealing with: kickboxing.

I went to my first kickboxing class a few months ago, partially because I was trying to rebound from some excessive holiday eating and was welcoming any new type of physical activity, but mostly because I had overheard a group of kids talking about it in a class of mine. Though a fitness class like this isn’t my ordinary scene, due to a combination of the two previously stated reasons, I decided to give it a go. Entitled “Abs and Bags”, the class was certainly not easy, nor relaxing in the way you might expect a stress-reliever to be. If you’re expecting to go to the gym and hit a punching bag a few times, a rigorous class like this one is probably not ideal for you. However, if you’re open to trying something new, despite a small amount of skepticism, I would strongly recommend kickboxing for you.

During the beginning of my first class, I will freely admit that I was a bit miserable at times. It was a more exhausting activity than I had ever taken part in before, and I truly felt defeated by observing all the pros around me. But after taking a few moments to absorb my surroundings and realize that I should not try to measure up to the gym-buffs who were near me, I began to really focus on myself (and, this sounds corny, but…) the bag.

Punching a bag is really more rhythmical than you might imagine. There’s a technique behind synchronizing your kicks and punches, and it’s nothing a beginner should expect to master during the first class. However, once you begin to adopt the basis of this rhythm, you can start to focus on your inner thoughts and emotions. There’s nothing comparable to being “in the zone”, but if you’ve ever been in it, you probably know what I mean. It’s similar to staring into space, and when it happens, there’s not much another individual can do to drag you back into reality. This is what kickboxing is like. Once you are fully engaged, you will be flooded with an abundance of emotions—good and bad—that just keep you punching. My inner monologue at my first class probably went something like this: “Ugh, friend trouble. Ugh, school! Grades. Parents. College. SAT. Boys. Prom. LIFE.” Really anything that had caused me any stress or anxiety arose, and I continued to punch, somehow feeling freer each time.

In addition to being an excellent way to channel your emotions, it’s a tremendous form of exercise, with each hour session generally burning 750 to 900 calories. Besides the weight loss that is often accompanied with kickboxing, you will likely gain muscular strength and improve your coordination and balance skills. It’s also a fun way to learn valuable self defense skills and just to gain an overall sense of confidence. Read more about the physical and mental health perks here.

Whatever the factor that sways you towards checking out a kickboxing class is, remember to try not to feel defeated during your first session. It will be strenuous work—perhaps more difficult than anything you’ve experienced in the past—but the effort you put in will certainly pay off when you are able to leave class with a clear head. Go ahead and give it a shot, and kick some butt at kickboxing!

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