A dynamic sport which evolved from 'contact' martial arts, kick boxing offers a great workout off relatively simply exercises. It is a relatively new sport, developed in the US in the 1970's.
Kickboxing has recently surged in popularity - it improves fitness, balance, flexibility, coordination, speed, agility and stamina and is thus an excellent all around workout. Kickboxing classes are less formal than traditional martial arts classes, and a typical class will include kicks and punches, maybe some skipping, punching a heavy bag, or doing a series of drills with a partner.
If you are looking for something a little different at the end of a busy day, what could be better than punching something to relieve stress? Besides providing a great head-to-toe cardio and calorie-burning workout, you'll also learn self-defense. Looking at all the elements of a class it's easy to see how you would get your whole body in shape. Hitting the heavy bag is a form of resistance training that will build power in your arms. Hitting the double-ended bag and working with spotting mitts (like punching moveable targets), helps to develop hand speed and eye-hand co-ordination, while doing push-ups strengthens your entire upper body. The kicking drills develop leg power and improves balance.
As with any form of martial art, participants have to be able to take a blow to the midsection - therefore crunches and other abdominal exercises are done to toughen up your abs. Finally, stretching is included, as flexibility is crucial for anyone studying a fighting art. It's worth being aware that injuries are fairly common, especially for beginners who aren't used to quick kicks and punches - this is a strenuous workout, but it is a lot of fun, and the potential rewards are great.