There is no denying that working out can increase the length and quality of your life. From the extensive list of health benefits, to an equally lengthy list of emotional, mental and psychological gains, individuals who work out on a consistent basis enjoy happier and healthier lives.
Admittedly, I see the world through self-defense tinted glasses. So while I’m all about people being healthier and happier through fitness, I can’t help but become focused, to the point of obsessed, on the other HUGE benefit of training — being safer. You don’t have to be in shape to defend yourself, but you’ll have a sizable advantage in a fight for your life and that of your loved ones if you are. In case you’re looking to try something new, or if you’re looking for the ultimate motivation to finally commit, I’m going to tackle the five hottest workouts for 2014, and how the benefits you’ll receive might actually save your life.
Spinning (Soul Cycle)
Spinning classes have made a huge comeback. Sometimes fused with other modalities, such as yoga, spinning classes have two major self-defense related benefits: leg strength and cardiovascular endurance. Leg strength is important in generating striking power, even upper body striking power. Cardiovascular endurance is important because it allows you to fight for longer and run to safety further, without tiring as quickly.
Ballet-Inspired Classes (Cardio Barre)
Prevention is one of the best strategies you have to stay safe. And while one of the best prevention strategies is to be aware of your surroundings, the other top prevention tool is to exist in the world with the physical characteristics of someone confident enough to fight back. Criminals often target those that appear weak and meek. Ballet-inspired classes are a fantastic way to gain tall, upright posture. Not only will your back and neck thank you, but you’ll be giving off an important message of confidence to any would-be attackers.
Pilates Fusion (Chaise 23)
One of the best self-defense related benefits of Pilates is that you’ll build an astoundingly strong core. Your core is an extensive chain of interconnecting muscles in your mid-section on the front, sides and back of your torso. While the simplified goal of your core muscles is to stabilize your spine, the functional outcome is an increased ability to move quickly, while staying balanced, and to strike explosively…all important in a fight for your life.
HipHop/Latin Dance (Zumba)
There are a lot of great health benefits to gain from dance classes, but from a self-defense aspect, one of the greatest benefits is feeling confident and good about yourself. That reads to everyone around you, and just like the tall posture you’ll gain from Ballet classes, your confidence will make you instantly less appealing as a potential victim.
Metabolic Conditioning (Crossfit, P90X, Insanity, Barry’s Bootcamp)
Of all of the workout trends this year, metabolic conditioning classes are the most physically beneficial in terms of increasing your ability to defend yourself. While you won’t learn specific self-defense techniques, these high-intensity, short recovery, circuit-esque workout routines using compound exercises, target the exact same physiological systems you use in a fight. The increased speed, explosive power, anaerobic endurance and toughened mindset you’ll gain from taking these classes will correlate perfectly to the type of demands you’ll need to ask from your body if you find yourself in a violent confrontation.
More from Manilla.com:
- How to Stay on Track with Your 2014 Fitness Goals
- Get Fit in the New Year Without Breaking the Bank
- Manilla New Year’s Toolkit: A Guide to the New You