How Effective is Taekwondo For Weight Loss?
There are plenty of studies that indicate that moving the body is needed to stay fit. If there is any doubt, look at the MMA fighters. The use of martial arts as a fitness tool has been around for a long time. In the 1990s, kickboxing was all the rage. A whole generation grew up hearing about Taebo. In the 2000s, judo, and jiu-jitsu saw a rise in popularity.
Martial arts is not about joining a bandwagon or hopping on a trend. It is about developing the body to become stronger and more fit. One of the more recognizable practices of martial arts is taekwondo. It is an excellent example of how weight loss happens because of martial arts. But, the next question is: how effective is it?
What is Taekwondo?
Taekwondo is a kind of martial arts that originated in Korea. It mainly emphasizes lower body movements. Spinning kicks and fast kicking techniques make up most of the moves. In fact, kicking is considered so valuable in the sport that taekwondo competitions give points for head kicks and spinning kicks.
This technique encourages a higher center of gravity. This is unusual for a martial arts practice. Other techniques, like karate and aikido, want the body closer to the ground. But taekwondo practitioners' stances are higher with the feet planted a bit closer together compared to other martial arts.
These stances lose stability. However, the kicks are faster and more powerful. This is important in taekwondo because one of its main principles is that speed equals power. The forcefulness of the strike does not come from the size of the artist, but from how fast he or she can strike.
Aside from strengthening the body, taekwondo is also cited as a productive activity to keep the brain healthy. It leads to better balance and eye-hand coordination. It also emphasizes alertness.
Losing Weight Through Calories
People tend to associate weight loss with calories. A calorie is what is used to measure how much energy food or a drink has. Ideally, a person only eats as much as it is needed. But, that is rarely the case. The excess energy is stored in the body as fat. People try to shed the extra fat by lessening their calorie intake, burning off the calories through exercise, or a combination of both.
In the case of taekwondo, it is a highly cardiovascular exercise. All the jumping and drills lead to the active burning of calories. According to the Mayo Clinic, an hour of taekwondo burns 752 calories for a person weighing 160 lbs.
But, burning calories is just one part of the equation. Another surprising way that taekwondo leads to weight loss is that it helps suppress the appetite.
Studies show that there is a relationship between exercise and appetite. The old advice for fitness is the plus-minus rule. You will lose weight if you burn more calories than you consume. But, human behavior makes this formula more difficult. The reality is that exercise can make you feel hungry. The calories you eat at the end of a workout might even be more than what you had at the start. Finding the right kind of diet menu, such as the HCG diet menu or keto diet menu, will help you balance getting the correct amount of calories to help with weight loss while still providing the nutrients your body requires and helping you feel full.
Fortunately, there is evidence that there are some activities that do not stimulate the appetite even though they are physical.
In a study published in the Journal of Endocrinology, researchers discovered that people who exercise vigorously for extended periods of time produce less ghrelin than those who did more leisurely activities. Ghrelin is a kind of hormone that is believed to influence the desire to eat.
For intense martial arts activities such as taekwondo, this means that it is not just that calories are being burned off. There is evidence that the highly active nature of the practice also encourages the body to stay away from food. It is a significant discovery when you consider that diet accounts for at least 60% of weight loss results.
Building Muscle to Fight Fat
Taekwondo tends to build muscle because it uses force regularly. The workout is focused and continual. For example, it is not unusual for an hour of practice to be made up mostly of kicking. The sustained intensity promotes muscle growth. Another way that taekwondo fosters muscle building is that it emphasizes speed. Taekwondo practitioners work at their pace because it leads to more power. The rate of movement also produces muscles.
Why is this significant?
In a study found in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, people who finished an hour of strength training burn more calories over a period of 24 hours than those who did not use weights. It turns out that muscles are effective fat burners.
Taekwondo is both a cardiovascular and muscle-building activity. It packs a one-two punch when it comes to burning fat. The fact that it can build up muscle means that the weight loss does not just happen during the actual activity itself. The weight loss also occurs over more extended periods of time.
Discipling the Brain
Practicing Taekwondo helps stop with excess eating caused by emotions, boredom, or just bad habits. First, the physical activity releases endorphins to help regulate the mood. You don't need to address stress and other negative emotions by reaching for a cookie or another serving of mashed potatoes. You simply feel happier because you sweated it out.
Taekwondo also emphasizes discipline. The repetitive movements to get the stances perfectly right and the commitment it takes to move up a level help strengthen this trait. Disciplined people can find ways to stick to their diets more faithfully. They are also able to do their exercises regularly. These good behaviors are the essential ingredients for lasting weight loss.
Taekwondo is quite effective in improving the physique. It is not an easy sport, so the rewards are also not easy to get. There is no such thing as instant results. Since it is not just a quick-fix solution—which hardly ever works in fitness—it tends to stick with you. A person can develop the right habits and make the physical changes needed to live a healthier lifestyle, with a better body to boot.