Kids… They Knock It Out Too.

CKO Kid Boxing

Those smaller versions of us have many of the same needs we do. Cardio Kickboxing is there to fulfill them.

There comes a point in everyone’s life, where you enter that stage. You become a grown up. And what that means, more than anything else, is responsibility. Responsibility in regards to finances, relationships and how you care for yourself.

You become more aware of your eating habits, introducing the latest vegetable or protein-rich foods into your meals. Remember the brussel sprouts craze? The big kale trend? Not to mention, your current stash of cauliflower pizza crusts in your freezer?

As an adult you know it’s not just what you put in your body, but what you do with your body that counts. So you joined CKO Kickboxing (pat on the back)! You made that choice because you value what the workout provides its members: Strength of Body, Strength of Mind, Community and Confidence. All the things that adults need. It just so happens that adolescents need these too. Greatly.

These benefits aren’t exclusively bound to the Over 18 category. Aren’t those takeaways beneficial, and perhaps even crucial, to youth, especially these days?

A generation ago, children would attend school, looking forward to a day that promised ample recess time, physical education class and opportunities to socialize. After school they would walk into their house only to be shooed back out, to run around outside with the other neighborhood kids. Friendships would develop and laughter would accompany the many games of tag, hide and seek and hopscotch, all played until dinnertime or dusk, whichever came first. Then, those physically-exerted happy kiddos would sit down to a family dinner and hop into bed, getting their much needed Z’s in order to take on an active light-hearted day once again.

Today’s world is vastly different. Now, with social media and video games, lack of gym class and reduced recess time, and the upswing in helicopter parenting, kids are sitting more and connecting less.

STRENGTH OF BODY

The Mayo Clinic “has linked sitting for long periods of time with a number of health concerns…obesity…increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist and abnormal cholesterol levels…sitting also seem to increase the risk of death from cardiovascular disease and cancer.” The risk of death due to extended sitting parallels that of obesity and smoking.

And sitting can cause obesity, which affects 1 in 5 children these days, climbing from 4.2% in the late 1960’s to 18.5% today (CDC). This doesn’t even take into account the number of children who are overweight and at risk of becoming obese as well.

Even as children are leading more sedentary lives, it is recommended that “children and adolescents ages 6 to 17 years do 60 minutes or more of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity daily” (Center for Disease Control). This recommendation is broken down even further, prescribing that those 60 minutes consist of thrice weekly aerobic activity, muscle strengthening activity and bone strengthening activity.

Sixty minutes of physical activity, once so easily achieved, is no longer, for a number of reasons. Here are a few:

  • Only six states require physical education in every grade K-12
  • Only 20% of school districts require daily recess
  • Children spend an average of 7.5 hours per day in front of a screen
  • Two out of every three kids are inactive

Being that those recommended sixty minutes of physical activity are rarely fulfilled during the school day, you have to look to after-school alternatives. CKO Kid Boxing, for one, steps in to provide an opportunity for youth to achieve optimal health.

As CKO members know full well, CKO’s heart-pumping hour comprises exactly what the CDC recommends – an aerobic, muscular and bone strengthening workout. Made with kids in mind, CKO Kid Boxing offers a 45 minute version of the workout, and is offered at the majority of the 90 CKO Kickboxing franchises throughout North America. Kids can expect to strengthen their muscles and bones and increase their endurance as they engage in kickboxing, isometric exercises, obstacle courses and partner pad work.

STRENGTH OF MIND

The physical activity that the CKO workout promises is just one piece of the puzzle. The mental activity that occurs is just as amazing.

In general, exercise has a positive effect on your mental focus, your ability to concentrate. The CKO Kid Boxing workout maximizes the mental benefits, as it takes immense mental effort to master the combination aspect of the class. You have to be attentive, quick to think and quick to act in order to complete the workout.

This is a huge win for youth, as this upswing in brain activity increases learning, memory, and concentration all resulting in better overall academic achievement. And for the 11% of American children with ADD or ADHD, CKO Kid Boxing helps, supporting the Child Mind Institute research, which found that “regular physical activity decreased the severity of ADHD symptoms and improved cognitive functioning in children.”

CONFIDENCE

Obtaining those mind and body benefits require a first step; trying something new.. This can be intimidating for anyone, young or old, but starting at a young age prepares you for the constant newness that will be delivered to you as life unfolds. By trying new things (Hello Vulnerability!) you discover something about yourself. Throwing a jab and cross for the first time can be scary, but once you’re done it, once you’ve mastered it, confidence grows within.

And that is what children need today. Self-worth, self-esteem, confidence. The realization that they can do something new. Sports in general are a mechanism for building confidence. However, with kickboxing, where its just you and a bag, without others to compare to, your hard work and achievements are individual. There is no comparing runs scored or goals blocked. It’s just you. Your own hard work responsible for the skills your form, improvements you make and confidence your grow with every workout.

COMMUNITY

Sometimes you need more than the bag. With increased feelings of loneliness that affect almost half of all Americans, especially younger adults, there is a nation-wide need to connect with others, to be and feel a part of a community. Social isolation and loneliness can spur negative self-worth, decreased confidence and depression. The antidote? Positive activities and healthy relationships.

The individual aspect of CKO Kid Boxing has its benefits, fostering resilience, independence and self-motivation. Simultaneously, the workout is also about the group, where kids learn to cooperate, encourage and support one another. Kids partner up for drills and pad training and split off into teams for healthy competition.

Together they sweat through the workout and the room fills with smiles, cheers, high fives, fist bumps and positive energy. When you hear and see all of that, a community has been made.

Fara McNeil, the owner of CKO Allendale, has experienced great success with her CKO Kid Boxing classes, with the next session beginning on October 12th. A mother herself, she has been delighted to witness the growth of so many children.

“We push their limits and really empower them… we show them that they can do whatever we throw at them. To see the change in confidence… To see them grow… It is amazing to watch,” McNeil says.

Community. The foundation on which CKO Kickboxing is built. How nice it is to see that kids can stand there too.

The systemic issues that children and parents face today cannot be overturned overnight. However, CKO Kid Boxing steps in to offer a place where children and adults alike can go to gain confidence. To move their bodies. To strengthen their minds. To feel and be a part of something. 

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Kimberly Oley is a self-employed content writer and strategist who began as Contributing CKO Author in 2018.