Muay Thai – regarded as one of the most effective and powerful martial arts – is a popular sport that is rich in tradition and history, which can be traced back thousands of years. Today, it is a national sport of Thailand and boasts a generous following all over the world of committed and passionate followers.
Known also as the ‘Art of Eight Limbs’, Muay Thai delivers power and accuracy through precision blows from feet, fists, elbows, and knees – in effect, eight parts of the body (the ‘eight limbs’), meaning there are an almost unending number of techniques to master – so, unlike many gym-based activities such as running or weights, boredom is unlikely to ever set in!
Classes are the perfect way to learn the ropes of this ancient martial art and, while in Thailand youngsters begin their training at the earliest opportunity, it’s never too late to start to learn Muay Thai. Improved fitness and stamina are, of course, important advantages of learning the sport, but the benefits don’t stop there: better mental and physical health, reduced stress levels and more flexible joints to ward off the effects of age all combine to make Muay Thai a highly effective sport.
An unbeatable all-round fitness program
Toiling away on the treadmill or in the swimming pool can not only be repetitive and uninspiring but also results in a surprisingly low-calorie burn rate and needs real commitment and effort to achieve a significant weight loss. Muay Thai classes, however, are among the most effective in which you can participate, in terms of the benefits to your overall fitness.
With up to 1,000 calories lost in a single Muay Thai session, you would be hard put to find an alternative sport that burns excess fat quite so quickly. Unlike other gym activities, the range of drills and exercises means you’ll enjoy variety in every class, keeping tedium at bay and helping to motivate you to build on existing skills and to develop new ones.
At LondonFightFactory we believe fitness is not just about weight loss, however. Although you can be confident of shedding the pounds and enjoying a more slender build, classes will also help you to strengthen muscles throughout your body – not just in your abdomen as it often assumed. For example, the roundhouse kick – a movement that is distinctively Muay Thai – and footwork drills strengthen just about every muscle in the lower half of the body.
Stronger muscles increase muscle mass which is essential for maintaining strong bones – helping to reduce the effects of aging as you grow older so, the sooner you join Muay Thai classes, the better for your long-term body condition.
While achieving a ripped physique is a goal for many participants, becoming a regular at Muay Thai classes will offer important health benefits that are essential for a longer, healthier life.
Classes in the sport are physically demanding, although as a beginner you’ll be guided by professional instructors who will ensure you don’t overexert yourself. Nevertheless, an hour-long class will ensure your heart is put through its paces, ensuring it remains strong and able to circulate blood efficiently around your body. A strong and healthy heart is essential for a long life and regular cardiovascular activity will help to reduce the chances of a life-limiting illness or event such as a cardiac arrest.
Remember that, as well as participating in Muay Thai classes, a healthy cardiovascular and circulatory system is best achieved by consuming a balanced diet and cutting out smoking and drinking.
Warding off the effects of old age
As we grow older, our joints tend to move less freely, leading to pain and bone erosion which may need to be repaired with an artificial joint replacement. The pain of arthritis alone can be troubling and debilitating, affecting the quality of daily life and the ability to carry out even simple tasks.
The kicking and kneeing movements of Muay Thai help to reduce the chance of problems in later life by increasing mobility of the hip joint. Regular practice, combined with simple stretching and rolling drills, will keep the hip joints supple and help to prevent them from slowly seizing up with age.
Another common problem in later life – loss of bone density – can also be reduced or delayed by involvement in Muay Thai classes. Weight loss will lighten the load, so to speak, on lower limbs, alleviating pressure on joints, while strengthening muscles will support bone density and potentially reduce conditions such as osteoarthritis in later life, especially if a high-calcium diet is consumed in partnership with Muay Thai.
A calmer, stress-free mind
It’s easy to focus on your physical health, especially when signing up to a martial arts class such as Muay Thai with all sorts of goals for your body in mind, but mental health problems, such as stress, can have lasting and harmful effects both on your quality of life and your wellbeing.
The natural aggression that Muay Thai channels is a fantastic way to release pent-up stress and negative emotions that can cloud your mind and influence your mood. Striking punchbags with ‘the eight limbs’ can be incredibly therapeutic! The fast pace of classes means you’ll have little chance to focus on anything but your workout, meaning the issues that plague your mind during the working day can genuinely be set aside. Simply learning the skills of Muay Thai over time can install a sense of self-worth and accomplishment, boosting your self-esteem and triggering the release of endorphins – the so-called happy hormones that help to beat low mood and depression.
Muay Thai is an elite sport for young athletes and offers many health and wellbeing benefits for young and old alike. Of course, you should ensure you start at a sensible pace and don’t put your body through exercises that are simply too demanding – you can build your strength over time and set goals for the future. The health benefits are rewarding so the quicker you attend classes, the better for later life. Always inform your coach of any existing health conditions to ensure that you commence training at a suitable level that enables you to grow in confidence and ability while reaping the many benefits of Muay Thai from the start.