Health

Kick-Boxing, Tai Chi, Pilates – Which is best suited for you?

Kickboxing

Kickboxing starts with warm-up exercises and it involves basic kicks and punches combined with footwork hooking. It is essentially Thai boxing performed with music, which makes it interesting. It is a stamina building exercise, which helps reduce extra inches. The exercise starts with slow pace music until you get used to the boxing moves. Gradually with practice you increase your pace, power and intensity of the punches.

The three-step kick-boxing includes:

  • Take guard. Keep elbows and wrists in a guard’s stance just like boxers do to protect their upper body while the abdominal muscles are tucked in tight.
  • Using force from the entire upper body and roll your hip towards the target as if you are punching. Let the entire weight of your body fall on the target.
  • Shift you weight to the left leg with a little roll on the toe. With the abdomen tucked in tight, kick the target with your right heel while your upper body leans back, with the spine in line with the leg that kicks.

Tai Chi

Tai chi is an ancient form of martial art that originated in 12th century China. The Chinese word Tai means ‘big’ or ‘great’ and Chi means ‘ultimate’. It is the interplay of two vital energies—Yin and Yang. It is called as Moving Meditation or Chinese Yoga.

Tai chi is all about generating energy through movement, the ultimate energy that powers the universe; everything from the greatest star right down to the smallest of microscopic creatures. The Tai Chi practice increases self-concept and concentration and develops strength with its slow, graceful movements, which require no equipment. Similar to yoga, Tai chi emphasizes the mind and body connection. It focuses on developing the ability to concentrate and not get distracted or confused. The exercises aim at increasing the body’s range of movement, aiding relaxation, reducing stress and assisting with proper balance and posture.

Tai chi includes a series of coordinated moves, flowing together to become one continuous movement. It is a combination of physical exercise, breathing technique and meditation. The technique relaxes the muscles and joints and provides inner calm. It has two forms—the hard and the soft.

The techniques in the hard form are aimed at the joints, nerves, internal organs and energy points, especially in combat, warfare or self-defence. The soft form is used more for health and fitness. This version was developed about 200 years ago. ‘Tai chi Sword’ and ‘Tai chi Sabre’ are the advanced forms.

Regular practice of Tai chi claims to offer relief from conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure, spleen dysfunction, arthritis, backache, insomnias, breathing difficulties. It also is said to improve blood circulation and help posture problems.

Tai chi in older individuals significantly reduces the risk of falls due to the enhanced balance and body awareness. Two studies involving Tai chi have been done by scientists who have been sponsored by the National Institute on Aging, USA.

In these experiments , the Tai chi volunteers were asked to take more deliberate steps and it was observed that it improved the speed at which they walked and lowered the rate of accidental falls. It was also observed that they soon overcame their fears and developed confidence and an increased sense of well being. It is advisable to learn this ancient art from a qualified professional.

parkour jumping

Parkour

The art of forward motion in spite of obstacles is known as parkour; an international discipline, sport and hobby. It evolved into a cohesive discipline since its beginning in 1988 in Lisses, France. Parkour involves ‘free running’, never to move backward instead to overcome obstacles with strength and speed. Possible movements of Parkour include running and leaping from a take-off point, landing from a jump, precision jumping and many more.

Pilates

Joseph Pilates, a German physical trainer created Pilates in the 1920s for the purpose of rehabilitation. The technique was used to treat soldiers returning from war. Dancers too used Pilates to heal the aches and pains. Even today the original technique has been preserved and is used with some modifications. So if you wish to strengthen your muscles, and become more flexible, or improve your posture even as you age, try Pilates.

Pilates includes two elements—the core muscle strength and spinal alignment. The terminology ‘core muscles’ is used to refer to the muscles that provide support to the spinal column, abdomen, hips and pelvis.

Exercising your core muscles helps strengthen your abdominal muscles (abs) and also other muscle groups including those found in the back and pelvis. Pilates strengthen the core muscles as they work in conjunction with muscles that support our spinal column.

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