Kickboxing Session
Kickboxing Session

A group of friends ‘kick it into gear’ during a kickboxing session at Bushido Academy in Kingsport: Erica Seals; Jason Brake, owner of Bushido Academy; Lora Barnett; Dana McMurray and Kandy Childress.

At Walker Tracker, we’re always learning more about wellness from our customers. We’ve been lucky enough to work with human resources directors, wellness consultants, data analysts, and others to implement plans that improve their health and reduce costs. Once we provide them the tools to track health performance, they consistently impress us with ideas and initiatives that make great use of that data. Kandy Childress, executive director of the Healthy Kingsport program in Kingsport, Tennessee, surprised us with a high-impact initiative based on her improved insight into their wellness data. As we use what we’ve learned from her to improve our product, we’d like to share her work with you so that you can also benefit from Kandy’s tips and see where her New Year’s resolution have taken her!

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Written by Kandy Childress:

January brought in the new year and with it a slew of resolutions aimed at self-improvement.  Science reveals that while many make resolutions, only a few are able to achieve their goals. Studies show that 75 percent of people keep their resolutions intact for one week.  Six months later 46 percent are still on target.  It’s not surprising that only eight percent of resolution-makers actually accomplish what they set out to do. It’s not surprising that only 8 percent of resolution-makers actually accomplish what they set out to do.

While the science may paint a bleak picture, not all is lost. The good news is research shows people who make resolutions are 10 times more likely to change behavior than those who never commit. The trick, according to Professor Weisman of England’s University of Hertfordshire, is to select one goal that can be achieved in spite of our chaotic and busy lives.

My “new-me goal” for 2019 was to return to kickboxing — a sport I tried for the first time over 10 years ago while living in Atlanta. Kickboxing was a natural evolution for me as I had trained in both taekwondo and hoshindo, experiencing the many benefits martial arts have to offer. So, what are those benefits?

NO. 1 — LEARN HOW TO DEFEND YOURSELF

The basic striking techniques performed using your hands, legs, elbows, and knees during a kickboxing class can be employed effectively in a self-defense situation. These techniques are practical movements that can be executed by regular people — like you and me — in street clothes, not martial arts uniforms. The goal is to be capable of defending yourself well enough to make a quick exit from a dangerous situation. Self-defense training is especially useful for women, especially young women, who are often the targets of predators.

NO. 2 — IT IS A SOCIAL ACTIVITY 

Joining a kickboxing class connects you to others — friends, coworkers, and even folks who probably would have never crossed your path. The connection is meaningful because it produces a feeling of belonging, creates camaraderie toward reaching the class workout goals, and gives you a motivational boost to move beyond your perceived limitations.

Two of my coworkers — Dana McMurray and Lora Barnett — recently joined me at Bushido Academy in Kingsport to give kickboxing a try. The hour flew by because we encouraged each other to push beyond our comfort zones, punching and kicking more effectively, all while getting an incredible workout.

NO. 3 — BUILD CARDIO, STRENGTH, FLEXIBILITY AND BALANCE

Kickboxing is the total body workout. A single hour of kickboxing burns 600 calories for a 125-pound person, 744 calories for a 155-pound person, and 888 calories for a 185-pound person. If you convert kickboxing to steps using Walker Tracker — the physical activity portal used by Healthy Kingsport for the 3 Million Mile Challenge — you amass 17,400 steps or 8.7 miles of physical activity for a one-hour class. That’s an incredible amount of miles for just one hour.

Kickboxing also strengthens, tones, and enlarges literally every single muscle in your body. It is especially beneficial for your arms, legs, and core. Who doesn’t want a great core? And, if you desire better flexibility and balance, kickboxing is an excellent choice as the sport increases your range of motion, which is something important for countering shifts in weight, especially as we age.

NO. 4 — ANYONE CAN DO IT

Whether you are a preteen, young adult, or mature adult, kickboxing is a great choice because it is a sport that enables you to determine how hard you train and the pace at which you work out. There really is no better way to get a total body workout, socialize while exercising, and glean some basic striking techniques that could very well save your life.

Consider making your “new-you goal” to enroll in a kickboxing class. Don’t forget to grab a fitness buddy and literally kick it into gear!

Kandy Childress is the executive director of Healthy Kingsport

Healthy Kingsport is a non-profit organization dedicated to creating a community that actively embraces healthy living by promoting wellness, enhancing infrastructure, and influencing policy.  Read more about Healthy Kingsport’s efforts in Sullivan County, TN, here. 

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