When Korean-born Seon-Hwa Lee dons her seemingly oversized bright, neon-pink boxing gloves ' a gift from her fitness trainer, Scott Shepard'they appear to overwhelm her 55 frame. But the appearance quickly fades as she begins her routine. Her fitness and agility become readily apparent as she executes finely tuned kicking and punching drills honed and modified by Shepard to accommodate her golf-specific fitness requirements.
Lees exposure to kickboxing came quite by accident during the Big Horn tournament in Palm Springs last year. After an unimpressive start at one over par the first day, Lee observed some people sparring in the fitness center. Interested in participating, she asked the instructor for a crash course. She enjoyed the session, and after scoring six under par the next day, Shepard decided to include some kickboxing moves as part of her regular fitness routine.
Shepards perception and ability to adapt a varied cadre of activities to golf-specific fitness contributes to his success and popularity as a trainer. I recommend fitness in general for everyone, of course, says Shepard. But I incorporated kickboxing into Seon-Hwas routine because she likes it. If you enjoy doing any aspect of a routine toward the goal of fitness, if you make it fun, you are more likely to continue it regularly. For instance, in an effort to increase Seon-Hwas upper body strength, instead of having her do pull-ups or push-ups all the time, we are going to try rock climbing at a local fitness center.
Seon-Hwa is quick to add stress relief to the benefits shes found in kickboxing, especially at the end of a stressful day of tournament play.
Shepard quickly saw kickboxing as a way to accommodate some of the golf-specific issues he was already addressing with Lee. For example, he determined a way to improve her swing speed by modifying some of the punch drills. Instead of typically ending the jab at impact, he has her push all the way through and to the side. Season-end physical assessments proved the modifications effectiveness in Lees swing speed, as well as strength.
When asked if he recommend kickboxing as part of every golfers fitness routine, Shepard was vehement. As a physical therapist, one of my main objectives for anyone is injury protection. For golfers in particular, I dont recommend using a heavy bag because of the risk of wrist injury. But a consistent fitness program that includes any type of cardio exercise will go a long way toward that aim, as well as the other obvious benefits of regular exercise.
With Asian roots dating back thousands of years, modern aerobic, or cardio, kickboxing combines elements of boxing, martial arts, and aerobics to provide superior physical conditioning and toning. Unlike other types of kickboxing, cardio kickboxing does not involve physical contact between competitors ' its an aerobic workout that tones your abs, buns and arms, while at the same time relieving stress. It also provides a terrific avenue for venting anger and pent-up aggression.
Once learning some of the basic kickboxing moves, practicing will also help to improve balance, flexibility, coordination, and stamina.
Kickboxing classes are now offered in many gyms, health clubs and YMCAs. But it is important to understand some basic guidelines before venturing in to a new activity.
* Assess your current fitness level. Since kickboxing is a high-intensity, high-impact exercise, it is best to approach it cautiously at first, especially if youve been sedentary for any length of time. You might try preparing yourself by first taking a low-impact aerobics course or participating in a less physical form of exercise. When you do begin kickboxing, work at your own realistic pace.
* Observe a few classes before committing to one. Look for a certified fitness instructor who is willing and able to modify the class to accommodate varying fitness levels.
* Wear loose and comfortable clothing that allows your arms and legs to move easily in all directions. The best shoes are cross-trainers, which allow for side-to-side movements.
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