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Culture of Fitness: Muay Thai

Fitness looks different around the world. How do exercise regimens from different cultures compare to a traditional gym workout? This is the third episode of a new series called "The Culture of Fitness."

After trying parkour last week, this week’s episode takes us to Southeast Asia and Thailand for Muay Thai.

For more about Muay Thai and why it is an effective fitness regimen, here is Dayo Odesanya, head instructor of T.H.A. Martial Arts and Kickboxing in southern Ontario with some more info on the sport.

Muay Thai is a combat sport from Thailand also known as Thai boxing. It is an explosive form of kickboxing noted for being a very powerful ring sport.

In Muay Thai training, athletes use their fists, elbows, knees, and shins as offensive and defensive tools. Due to the rigours of the sport, Muay Thai workouts are designed to get the athletes into ring-ready shape.

The fitness results achieved by training Muay Thai is partly why the sport has gained popularity in the west.

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At most Muay Thai schools, most members train for the fitness benefits and not necessarily to fight or compete. A typical Muay Thai class is 60 minutes long and incorporates high intensity interval drills using punching pads, calistenics, as well as resistance training.

Another reason Muay Thai is great is the practical self defense skills that can be applied from many of the moves you are learning. Muay Thai is usually the preferred martial art for striking among mixed martial arts fighters.

The combination of learning a new skill and breaking a great sweat is something many adults love about Muay Thai training.

Also, the nature of the training is partner based, so there is always a sense of camaraderie in the classes. Training Muay Thai can help you get into amazing shape because you will be training like a professional fighter without having to be one.

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Another key feature of this series is to compare each exercise regimen to a traditional gym routine. To do that, we’ve enlisted the services of Jenna Gillen, assistant professor of exercise physiology, to give her determination of the effectiveness of each method of training.

Here she is talking about Muay Thai.

University of Toronto’s Jenna Gillen on the benefits of Muay Thai
University of Toronto’s Jenna Gillen on the benefits of Muay Thai