Why women should try a martial art like Muay Thai or boxing

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Aside from feeling more energised, less stressed and lighter, you’ll find the strength and courage to push your mind and body to places they have never been before. Guest contributor Nesrine Dally aka ‘hijabi lifts’ talks to us about why more women should try a martial art like Muay Thai or boxing.

In 2019 it’s fair to say we have limitless training options available to us. The number of gyms, studios and classes around in the health and fitness industry is exponentially on the rise. This can only be a good thing as with greater variety the more likely we are to find a movement/training method that works for us. As I say to my clients all the time: “be guided by the things you enjoy’’. It’ll make your workout so much more productive because you are doing something that makes you feel good, which in turn increases motivation. I’m lucky that at the age of 22 I found Muay Thai. After years of competing in a variety of sports and doing weight lifting, I managed to discover a martial art that challenged my body and mind in a way that i’d never felt before.

What is Muay Thai?

Muay Thai is a martial art originating in Asia also known as ‘The Art of 8 Limbs’ (2 fists, 2 elbows, 2 knees and 2 shins). It is the national sport of Thailand. This combat sport uses a combination of stand up striking and clinching (grappling). That may sound scary to some but guess what? You don’t ever need to step foot in a ring to be able to appreciate and reap the benefits of this holistic martial art. The sport itself shares some similarities with kick boxing. The main point of difference being that kick boxing only uses 4 points of contact (punches and kicks).

What are the benefits of this type of training?

This sport requires an athlete to possess a number of physical attributes, which means the benefits of learning the sports and the training are numerous. Muay Thai training uses both the anaerobic and aerobic training systems. This means the requirement from your cardiorespiratory system to keep up with the demands is like no other. During my first Muay Thai session, I remember thinking “wow, this works your lungs in a way I’ve never felt before’’. Forget running on a treadmill uphill for hours, wishing the time away. Instead think about learning some exciting new skills and getting all the cardiovascular benefits from it. The training allowed me to love and respect my body and realise it is capable of so many things than I never could have imagined.

Some of the other physiological benefits include: increased core, upper & lower body strength, speed, power, agility, co ordination and flexibility. The list doesn’t stop there, we haven’t even begun to talk about the mental health benefits of Muay Thai.

A great stress relief

First off let me start by saying this sport is rich in a deep history of culture, discipline, traditions and respect. All these practises are carried through the training and are the fundamentals of the sport. The most obvious thing we could talk about is how much of a stress relief Muay Thai and boxing training are. Hitting pads after the worst day at work will only ever result in you feeling so much more energised, less stressed and lighter.

It does wonders for building confidence

I’ve seen first hand how the learning process and application of a new skill/sport can do wonders for someone’s confidence. Knowing that you have the ability to teach your body a new skill and continue to learn each session is such an empowering feeling. It often feels like your wall of mental barriers are being pushed further forward each session, making you realise you can in fact achieve so much more than you realise. The high intensity nature of the rounds forces you to ‘dig deep’ and find strength and courage to push your mind and body to places they have never been before.

Where do I start?

You can start NOW! You don’t need any prior experience in martial arts or boxing. All you need is the desire to try and learn something new. It’s a fun experience training with a buddy so I would suggest bringing a friend along with you to train.

Nesrine’s gym recommendations

(1) Thai Fit: Muay Thai Fitness classes based in North London (N8 7EA)
Mixed & Ladies only

(2) The MMA Clinic: Mixed martial arts (Angel)

(3) 12×3 (Aldgate & Paddington)
The ultimate boutique Boxing club run by professional fighters with a depth of knowledge and experience

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