If midterm season (which is pretty much every season) makes you want to scream into a pillow or punch a wall, you should know there’s a better way to let out your frustration. It’s hard to get in a workout during the busiest time of year, but thankfully you can relieve stress and break a sweat at the same time. Kickboxing is the workout you never knew you needed. 

Loyalists of kickboxing are indeed die–hard loyalists. Most of their stories start the same way—they wanted to try something new, but at the same time were a little hesitant about kickboxing. 

Alexis Uria (C '20) first tried the workout in high school as a way to relieve both stress and anger. She said she “fell in love with it right from the start because it was super intense” and she always left each workout “feeling super happy.” She has continued to go to classes throughout college and recommends it to others whenever she can. 

Alexis said that for her, an hour of kickboxing is not only a full–body workout, but also “serves as an hour to just focus and reflect on yourself.”

Sofiya Pavlova (C, W '21) agrees that kickboxing is the ideal workout for relaxation. "You let all your frustrations out and end up with a clean mind afterwards," she said.

For this type of unwinding, my go–to workout is yoga, but I was up for something new. I was a little intimidated when I visited CKO Kickboxing in Center City for the first time. CKO, located at 16th and Walnut, offers your first class free (although you do have to buy gloves if you don't already own a pair), which was enough to convince me to give it a try. 

Kickboxing is a high–intensity, cardio–heavy workout that can burn up to 1200 calories in an hour. If that’s not convincing enough, you pretty much get to spend an hour punching things. I must admit, I don’t think of myself as the strongest person and was a little bit insecure walking into the gym. But I soon realized that the only competition was myself, and of course, the punching bag. In fact, kickboxing is the perfect group workout. 

The group aspect is what drew Zoe Kraus (C ‘21), a member of the lacrosse team, to kickboxing. She first tried it to get in some cardio and try something other than her usual team workout, and said, "Kickboxing bonds me with my team and brings a lot of energy to the group."

I definitely felt that energy in my class. I went at my own pace, and soon found myself getting into the rhythm of things. By the end of the class, I felt significantly more confident. And yes, I felt de–stressed. Even though yoga does help me with relaxation, I didn’t realize how much pent up frustration I could release through kickboxing.

Another reason why kickboxing is the perfect workout choice is that it teaches self–defense. My parents have been nagging me to learn self–defense techniques for as long as I can remember. Even though a real opponent may be different from a punching bag, feeling more comfortable defending myself is yet another benefit from the workout. 

Sofiya emphasized that kickboxing makes her feel strong and independent, especially as a woman. "For some reason people don't think girls can be strong and I like to prove them wrong," she said.

Kickboxing is equally as exhausting as it is invigorating. I will definitely continue to go to classes whenever I need to let out a little bit of stress, or when I need a confidence boost. Plus, punching stuff is always fun.