Are you considering Taekwondo for health and fitness reasons? You might be wondering if Taekwondo is fast-paced enough and builds enough strength to be considered a good workout and form of exercise. It is important to choose an exercise or martial art that meets your physical fitness needs and intended outcomes.
I wanted to know how Taekwondo measures up in terms of what is considered a “good workout”, and so I did a bit of investigating.
Taekwondo can be a great form of exercise and workout. This martial art is an effective fighting style that focuses on self-defense, discipline, fitness, and health. Practicing taekwondo improves heart health, aids in weight loss, increases flexibility, strengthens muscles and bones, and boosts aerobic fitness.
Not only is Taekwondo considered an excellent physical workout, but it’s also a great way of improving mental health too.
From this, you can deduce that while Taekwondo is an excellent form of martial art, it is also excellent for exercise and self-defense purposes too. It is an undeniable fact that the health benefits of Taekwondo are many, and anyone who signs up for classes will put themselves in a great position to build strength, get fit, and improve overall health.
Do you want to learn more about how Taekwondo can benefit you in terms of health and fitness? Take a look at the pointers below.
6 Ways Taekwondo is a Good Workout & Form of Exercise
Some people might argue that you will not get the same type of exercise from Taekwondo as you will from other cardio and endurance sports such as running. However, during a one-hour Taekwondo class, newbies quickly realize just how necessary fitness is in order to keep up.
There is constant moving in Taekwondo classes, and all of the movement is high energy. The type of exercises done do not just aid in agility, but also build incredible overall body strength.
These are 6 main ways in which Taekwondo can whip you physically into shape.
1. Regular Taekwondo Practice Improves Heart Health.
Heart health is just not something that you can overlook nowadays. If you do not want to exercise for fitness and looking good, at least do it for a healthy heart. If you want increased physical output and a long and healthy life, you already know that you need to have a healthy heart, but how do you get a healthy heart?
The best way to boost heart health is to introduce cardiovascular workouts to your exercise regimen.
Now, you are probably thinking that Taekwondo is not strictly considered a cardio sport, but that is where you are wrong. The act of the art may not be a cardio sport, but the practice and training include a great deal of cardio. Cardiovascular exercises are included in Taekwondo workouts in the form of jump rope, running laps, doing circuit training (often weighted to build muscle strength and durability), and drills.
Typical Workout Session
Many Taekwondo practitioners train 2 to 3 times per week for 90 minutes, with diligence – very rarely skipping a practice. The typical workout session varies from one training school to the next, but most sessions look something like this:
- 20 minutes of stretching warm-up and circuit training.
- 20 minutes practicing set forms.
- 20 minutes of working with a partner doing pad work and sparring drills.
- 20 minutes of high energy sparring with a partner with very short breaks in between.
- 10 minutes rest and cool-down stretching.
As you can imagine, during the sparring exercises, there are repeated high energy kicks and punches, which really get the heart rate going. And when the heart rate is up, your heart is getting a good work out and getting stronger too. Anyone who thinks that they can sail through Taekwondo classes without any cardio fitness at all is sorely mistaken.
The good news is that you can start as a beginner without any cardio fitness, and it will build as you progress through your training. There’s no need to be exceptionally fit as a newbie to the martial art. Just be prepared to put in the work once you start.
2. Regular Practice of Taekwondo Aids in Weight Loss.
Losing weight seems to be something that the world is obsessed with. We see weight loss programs and diets slathered across every possible media platform. That is not because losing weight is a fad. It’s because maintaining a healthy weight is good for overall physical and mental health.
To lose weight or maintain a healthy weight, one has to burn more calories than they consume. It is regular high energy exercise and a healthy balanced diet that burns calories. The Taekwondo lifestyle provides just that.
A typical Taekwondo practice session involves a lot of running, jumping, kicking, and punching. Being constantly on the move in training boosts the body’s metabolic rate, and over the long term, this means that the body will burn more calories and shed weight. Once your metabolism is effectively working, you will even burn calories after your workout.
Most Taekwondo practitioners notice a drop in their body fat percentage and blood pressure when starting Taekwondo. Pairing regular Taekwondo with a healthy diet is great for losing weight.
3. Taekwondo Increases Overall Muscle & Body Flexibility.
If you are a sporty type of person, being flexible is essential. It allows you to participate in a variety of sports that would otherwise prove difficult for an inflexible or stiff person. Being flexible provides a greater range of motion and enables people to push their bodies a little further for a little longer each time.
Before each class, and after each class, Taekwondo instructors ensure that their students work through a variety of stretches that, over the long term, improve overall flexibility. These stretches are aimed at loosening the muscles and building inner strength. Stretching prepares the muscles for the hard work that they are about to do, and so when you stretch regularly; you avoid pesky injuries and strains along the way.
4. Practicing Taekwondo Strengthens Muscles.
If you want to develop strong and toned muscles, practicing Taekwondo is a great option.
There is a lot of muscle and strength building exercises incorporated in a typical Taekwondo practice class. These include circuit training with weights, punching, grappling, and of course, high energy kicking. All of these exercises can be used to tone and build muscle, especially when you are doing them 3 or more times per week.
Some practitioners add a few extra exercises to their gym workout to add more intensity to their muscle strength and tone. These include:
- For stronger, more toned leg muscles: calf raises, leg curls, lateral jumps, leg extensions, lunges, squats, step-ups, and leg lifts.
- For stronger, more toned core: planks, bicycle crunches, leg raises, Russian twists, sit-ups.
- For stronger, more toned arm and back muscles: pull-ups, push-ups, bicep curls, bench press, lateral pull downs, triceps kickbacks and extensions, dumbbell flies, and chest dips.
5. Taekwondo Exercises Help Increase Bones Mass Density.
What exactly is bone mass density, and how does it work? Is it even important? Yes, bone mass density is essential as bones are responsible for a variety of things, including protecting your organs, creating anchored muscles, storing calcium, and providing structure.
Bone building is achieved through osteoblasts, which create the build-up of bone matter. An osteoblast is only possible when you do weight-bearing exercises. While you might not think it, Taekwondo provides a great deal of weight-bearing exercises, and although you do these exercises with your own body weight, they are highly effective. These include punching, pushing off with your arms, jumping, kicking, and landing.
6. Regular Taekwondo Practice Boosts Aerobic Fitness.
This sounds impressive, but most people do not know what it is. What does “aerobic fitness” even mean? To put it simply, aerobic fitness speaks of just how effective and efficient your body is at drawing oxygen from the environment and converting it to “food” and energy for developing muscles.
Someone who is very fit and does regular cardiovascular workouts will have a very high level of aerobic fitness. This also means that your muscles will recover quicker after physical exercise.
How Taekwondo is Good for Mental Health Too.
Mental health is also important to pay attention to on a day to day basis. In fact, physical exercises are said to do wonders for mental health in the average person.
In terms of mental fitness, Taekwondo practitioners benefit from learning goal-setting skills, improved focus, increased production of serotonin (happy vibes), and mental clarity that comes from distracting from the stresses of the day and focusing entirely on something external.
It comes as no real surprise that Taekwondo is good for mental health, especially when you consider that patients with anxiety and depression are often advised to do regular exercise to overcome and reduce their symptoms.
As you can see, Taekwondo is not just an average workout; it is a highly effective workout and form of exercise that can transform your body, overall health, and mental health too. If you would like to learn a fighting style that will actually get you fighting fit, then Taekwondo might just be for you.