You’ve probably heard of Muay Thai before, but if you haven’t, it’s basically a combat sport that many consider a martial art that originates from Thailand. It has grown from a form of actual hand-to-hand combat used by Thai soldiers for hundreds of years to an organized professional and amateur sport practiced all around the world.
Muay Thai often gets confused for kickboxing and vice versa. However, while the two sports are similar, they are very different. Muay Thai incorporates clinches and strikes from elbows and knees that aren’t allowed in kickboxing. Additionally, Muay Thai doesn’t limit your number of kicks. You may see more Muay Thai places popping up left and right (including some in kickboxing gyms) and there’s a good reason. Its popularity is rising, not just because more exposure is being brought to the sport, but also because it has a number of health benefits as well. Let’s take a look at 5 health benefits of Muay Thai.
Since Muay Thai relies heavily on your core, you’ll start to notice significant changes in your weight, especially if you have pesky fat stored up around your core. In fact, many have found that an hour of Muay Thai alone can burn up to a thousand calories. This is two or three times the calories you would burn from an aerobic exercise such as jogging. Eventually, you’ll build your endurance up to the point where you can incorporate different aerobic exercises in between Muay Thai sessions.
Strength and Muscle Gain
While the fat is burning off from doing Muay Thai, you’ll also notice your muscles getting toned as well. You’ll start to especially notice significant toning in your core and legs after working Muay Thai into your fitness routine. There are a lot of different muscle groups used when kicking and punching that leads to efficient muscle development. Everything from defensive maneuvers and striking to clinching uses almost every muscle group in your body. Although, if you’re looking to build more muscle, you would need to incorporate an additional strength and diet routine on top of your Muay Thai routine.
If you’re looking for a way to boost your cardiovascular health, then look no further than Muay Thai. Heart disease and other cardiovascular issues are the number one killers of people around the world. Muay Thai is a form of anaerobic exercise. If you haven’t heard of anaerobic exercise, it’s a non-endurance exercise form meant to do everything from increasing your strength to reducing your risk of heart disease. Muay Thai has also been found to reduce your blood pressure due to the high intensity of the movements.
Muay Thai is a healthy outlet, whether you’re getting off a rough shift at work or needing to decompress after schoolwork. As long as you’re performing techniques safely with a sparring buddy, instructor, or even a kickboxing bag, Muay Thai offers a positive and healthy outlet to alleviate the stresses of your day. Muay Thai may look violent, but there is a lot of self-control involved that helps you maintain discipline, not just physically, but mentally as well.
It’s no secret that there’s a link between mental health and exercise. While Muay Thai has a laundry list of internal and external physical benefits, there are also significant cognitive benefits as well. The first benefit of mental health that Muay Thai offers is improving our mood. When you’re doing an intense anaerobic exercise like Muay Thai, you’re releasing a chemical into your nervous system called endorphins. You’ve probably heard of endorphins as a mood booster, but did you also know they also help alleviate the symptoms of depression and anxiety? Exercise has also been found to reduce the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.