Thanksgiving is the start of a holiday season filled with weeks of laughter, good cheer, family, friends and, as a reward for being well-behaved all year, a present or two delivered by a jolly old elf. For many, it’s a highlight of the year.
What makes the holidays special – an increase in parties, social engagements and time spent with loved ones – can also prove hazardous to our health. Changes in eating and drinking habits, and breaks in routines, can lead to weight gain. Estimated average weight gain over the holidays varies depending on the research study and the starting weight of the individual, but some studies show weight gain as high as 10 pounds during this period.
Being mindful of what we consume is one way to minimize the negative health impact of the holiday season, and exercise, whether during or after the holidays, is a great way to lose that added weight. And one of the most effective exercise disciplines for weight loss is martial arts training.
One pound equals 3,500 calories so losing 10 pounds of body fat requires the burning of 35,000 calories. Let’s use a 200-pound man as an example. Here’s how many calories he would burn per hour with the following types of exercises:
Low-impact aerobics = 455 calories
High-impact aerobics = 665 calories
Racquetball = 635
Basketball = 728 calories
Golf = 390 calories
Training in the martial arts, our 200-pound man would lose 950 calories an hour. He would need to play racquetball for one hour every day for eight weeks to lose 10 pounds. He would lose the same amount of weight in slightly more than five weeks with martial arts training. It would take someone weighing more than 200 pounds less time to lose 10 pounds since they burn more calories per hour. The reverse is true for someone weighing less than 200 pounds.
Martial arts training offers the added health benefit of using the entire musculature versus an exercise like riding a stationary bicycle which focuses on a limited area of the body. It increases strength, flexibility, agility, balance, hand-eye coordination, proper body movement, core, endurance, aerobic capacity, and promotes strong mental and emotional perspectives. It also increases social skills and builds confidence, with children and adults alike.
Many of us look forward to the holiday season. When the festivities get the best of our waistline, consider an exercise routine that maximizes calorie burn to help lose short-term weight gain.