“This is not what the inside of a ring would like look. This is what you would have if you had to defend yourself,” says Coach Decker after his team reaches the top of Holbert Trail at South Mountain in Phoenix. Overlooking a beautiful city vista, the participants are learning important kickboxing skills directly after hiking up a steep terrain. This kickboxing hike is the first one of many cross-training events that Coach Decker will be hosting, along with their partner organization-Arizona Adventures Cooperative.
So why has Coach Decker chosen hiking as one of his cross-training methods? Hiking is excellent for the mind and body, gets you outdoors, and compliments the skills and training needed to be a great kickboxer. “Hiking Holbert Trail was such a great experience! It was fun, challenging, and the scenery was awesome !” This hike combined with kickboxing was definitely rewarding for those who attended.
“Kickboxing instills a sense of confidence and purpose in participants. It doesn’t matter if you are a professional fighter. The physical component also prepares you for the mental,” says Decker. Combining hiking and kickboxing into one training session makes for a powerful, practical, and performance driven activity.
If you are in kickboxing, but new to hiking, get ready for another level of fitness. It is common for beginning hikers to get sore legs and be short on breath on those steeper inclines and higher elevations.
Hiking is a great activity for increasing your overall lung capacity. The total lung capacity is the maximum amount of air a person’s lungs can hold, which is approximately four to six liters (4000 to 6000 cm3) for the average person. Typically, a third of this capacity is used during normal activity, but this fraction increases during strenuous activity when the body requires more oxygen.
Increased lung capacity is necessary for extensive kickboxing sessions as well. “This would be a great place to have a quote from you Scott”.
To prevent lung and leg fatigue, David Ross, M.D., a pulmonologist at UCLA Medical Center, it’s important to take deeper breaths when exercising. You use more air sacs in your lungs, which allows you to take in more oxygen to feed your muscles.
Supplementing hiking with kickboxing is also a great weight reduction method. A person who is 175 lbs and hikes for two hours on a hilly terrain can burn up to 1,100 calories. If the same person spends two hours walking on flat terrain, they will burn approximately 500 calories. Over the course of a week, if you hike for a total of six hours, you will lose 1/2 pound more than the walker. In windy weather, the wind resistance can boost your burn potential by approximately 5 percent, experts say. Hiking is an excellent total-body workout.
With this powerful combination, your body gets hit from many different angles and engages muscle groups you could miss at the gym such as the back, outer thighs and deep core muscles. On trails, you encounter different challenges such as rivers to cross or logs to climb over. Learning kickboxing skills on the uneven terrain is a more realistic situation in which one would need to defend themselves.
So not only is Coach Decker’s kickboxing hike excellent cross training for your body, but mentally you are placed in the flow. According to researchers, flow is described as a state of complete immersion in an activity.
During this Coach Decker cross training session, your attention is focused on how your body is moving, the power of your muscles, and the feel of the terrain beneath your feet. You get utterly lost in the moment; you may be tired, but you barely notice. Some of the factors that accompany the experience of flow includes:
*Having clear goals that are attainable, yet still a challenge
*Increased concentration and focused attention
*Feelings of serenity and self confidence
*Timelessness- so focused on the present that you lose all track of time
*Feelings of personal control over the situation and the outcome
Taking this cross-training session in the great outdoors has it’s benefits as well. Studies find that being in nature increases the ability to focus, and increases creativity and problem solving. Just five minutes of exercise in a natural environment boosts your mood and the natural scenery is more motivating than being in a gym. One study found that backpackers scored 50 percent better on a creativity test after spending four days in the outdoors, disconnected from electronic devices. Our mind can relax when we turn off our cell phones and tablet devices, scientists say, freeing up our imagination.
The Coach Decker Kickboxing Hike was a great success! The combination of learning kickboxing skills, hiking and being out in nature is an awesome way to get fit and have tons of fun doing so! We’ll be sure to keep you posted on the next Coach Decker Kickboxing Hike this Summer in Tucson.
Have other ideas for cross training? We would love to hear them! Please leave your comments below.