Tonawanda News


April 1, 2013

Fitness programs turning to martial arts

Tonawanda News — Three months into 2013 and those of us who made resolutions to lose weight and work out more might still be feeling the burn, but maybe also a little boredom.

Susan Bardack, public relations specialist for Best Fitness, said that these days, fitness often involves combatting the monotony of simply walking on a treadmill or using an elliptical machine. 

"Fitness is becoming much more about tapping into things people are interested in," she said, adding that people are turning to dance-related workouts like Zumba and choreographed martial arts programs.

"I think the industry is seeing these are really popular programs because it's something everybody can do and it's set to music," she added.

When it comes to martial arts, it's not just about learning how to take out an opponent and it's not just for the already fit. Sometimes it's a way to keep people interested in their workout routine.

Lauren Kanouff, an instructor at Jindo Martial arts in the Town of Tonawanda, said the majority of her students sign up for kickboxing, kettlebell and cage fitness classes for the fitness aspect. No one goes to classes with the intention of actually decking another person.

Mostly, it't just "a great stress reliever," she said.

Student Heather Fleming said she finds the kickboxing class to be a lot of fun and a great way to work off the stress of the day.

"I have one, two, three, four faces ready to go," she said with a laugh, pointing at different markings on a punching bag.

Kanouff has seen an uptick in interest for martial arts-related fitness classes in recent years in part because of the growing popularity of mixed martial arts fights and the Ultimate Fighting Championship. 

"I think with those type of sports now being so mainstream, there's been a lot more of a draw to martial arts to get fit," she said. Plus, "you get the opportunity to hit something."

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