Lillian Wilson

Muay Thai For Fitness And Health: Seven Ways It Can Improve Your Life

Explore the physical, mental, and emotional benefits of practising Muay Thai for fitness, and how it can improve your overall well-being.


Muay Thai, also known as the ‘art of 8 limbs,’ is a combat sport that originates in Thailand. Over time, Muay Thai has evolved from being solely a combat art to becoming a popular form of fitness training around the world. Practising Muay Thai not only offers the benefits of physical fitness but also gives the opportunity to learn a new skill and develop mental strength. In this article, we will explore the various ways that practising Muay Thai can improve your fitness and overall well-being.

Seven reasons Muay Thai is great for your health

1Improves cardiovascular health and endurance

Muay Thai is a great full-body training that can help you develop a well-rounded and toned physique, while also enhancing your overall fitness and well-being. Besides this, Muay Thai can provide beneficial heart effects.

Muay Thai provides an exceptional cardiovascular workout that elevates your heart rate, improving your overall cardiovascular stamina. With consistent training, your heart will become more efficient in its function, resulting in a reduction in your resting heart rate.

young woman sparring practice muay thai boxing gloves

Muay Thai also improves heart health from the blood pressure perspective. Hypertension is one of the greatest risk factors for cardiovascular events. The study aimed to analyze the effects of 16 weeks of Martial Arts (Muay Thai or Judo) training on cardiovascular variables in adolescents. The results showed that Martial Arts training led to a significant decrease in systolic blood pressure, suggesting that it can be an effective means of preventing and treating cardiovascular disease.

The art of eight limbs also promoted fat loss. The combination of fat loss and a low-carb diet can aid blood circulation and prevent plaque formation. As a result, this alleviates pressure on the heart and diminishes the likelihood of cardiac events such as heart attacks and strokes.

2Increases flexibility and balance

Good flexibility and balance are important for maintaining overall health and improving life quality. Flexibility allows for a wider range of motion, which can help prevent injury and reduce muscle soreness. It also helps to improve posture and reduce the risk of developing chronic pain or joint problems.

Balance, on the other hand, is important for preventing falls, especially as we age. By improving balance, we can reduce the risk of injuries from falls and maintain independence in daily activities.

Muay Thai has been practically and scientifically proven to enhance both flexibility and balance. The study examined the effects of 8 weeks of Muay Thai exercise on balance and flexibility in the elderly. The results indicated that the experimental group showed significant improvements in balance and flexibility compared to the control group. Therefore, the study concluded that Muay Thai exercise could be an effective means of improving balance and flexibility.

3Promotes improvements in all components of physical fitness

Muay Thai is an especially valuable type of fitness because it can help to improve all the physical fitness variables. These are measurable components of physical fitness, such as cardiorespiratory endurance (measured by VO₂ max), muscular strength, muscular endurance, flexibility, body composition, and agility.

The study aimed to compare the effects of Muay Thai training on body composition and physical fitness in healthy untrained women by assigning 20 women randomly to one of two training groups. One group trained two times a week another one engaged in Muay Thai three times per week for 13 weeks. Results showed that both groups significantly improved in all measured physical fitness variables including resting metabolic rate, VO₂ max, agility, flexibility, etc. The two groups experienced a 28.5% and 27.5% increase in physical fitness. The study concludes that Muay Thai training two or three times a week can promote positive changes in several important outcomes related to health for healthy untrained women.

4Reduces risk of chronic diseases

The risk of getting chronic disease is influenced by various factors and ageing is one of them. As we grow older, it is important to take more care of our bodies: engage in regular physical activities, eat a healthy diet, sleep enough and prioritise mental well-being.

Traditional Thai Boxing dance has been proven to drop the risk of various chronic conditions. The study aimed to investigate its effects on insulin resistance and lipid profiles in elderly Thai females. The exercise group practised it for 30 minutes three times a week for 12 weeks, and the results showed significant improvements in insulin resistance and decreased levels of cholesterol and triglycerides.

The study suggests that the Sakon Nakhon Traditional Thai Boxing dance exercise program could be useful in reducing the risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes, atherosclerosis, hypertension, and stroke.

5Lowers stress

Being active and moving do boost our mood and ease stress. According to a study, regular exercising lowers the odds of depression by 25%. The same goes for Muay Thai. Engaging in such an intense workout, punching a bag, and concentrating on your body motions can really help to let things go and relieve stress.

Muay Thai training positively contributes to all five elements of psychological well-being outlined in the PERMA framework, including positive emotions, engagement, relationships, meaning, and accomplishment.

Regular exercising lowers the risk of depression by -25% Source: ScienceDirect

6Develops better mental acuity

As Healthypedia’s expert in Muay Thai and World Champion Matt Parks says, ‘You can not be unfocused because one moment you lose focus and the next you are chewing somebody’s glove.’ 🙂

Training Muay Thai for fitness involves a high level of mental and physical focus, which can improve the ability to stay present and enhance concentration.

Improving focus and being in the moment can have several benefits in regular life, such as increased productivity, better decision-making, improved relationships, and reduced stress and anxiety. These benefits can lead to an overall improvement in quality of life and well-being.

7Boosts self-confidence and self-esteem

At some point in our lives, we all find something that really shapes our personalities and builds up our self-image. Muay Thai might be one of those activities that are helpful for developing confidence and increasing self-esteem.

At first, people who come to my Muay Thai class may be very shy, and kind of pulled back into a corner. And sometime later, they come in and you see that people almost light up. People carry themselves in a different way, walk in a different way, they talk in a different way. They just feel better about themselves. The feeling of achieving personal goals through this discipline and being comfortable in your own body really boosts your self-confidence and self-esteem.
Matt Parks
Former World and European Thai boxing champion, Muay Thai trainer

Sum it up

Muay Thai is a versatile and effective form of exercise that can benefit both the body and mind. Regular Muay Thai training can lead to improvements in cardiovascular health, flexibility, balance, and physical fitness, and a reduced risk of chronic diseases. Furthermore, training in Muay Thai can promote a positive mood, mental focus, self-confidence, and self-esteem.

It is clear that Muay Thai is much more than just a combat sport; it is a holistic approach to physical fitness and well-being that can positively impact every aspect of your life. If you’re looking for a new form of exercise that can challenge both your body and mind, consider giving Muay Thai a try.

Not enough? Here is more

The Boxer’s Soliloquy‘ by Matt Lucas is an authentic and emotional journey of a young American fighter in his pursuit of Muay Thai from the middle of his career to its end, offering a glimpse into the life of a Muay Thai fighter in the United States and Thailand in a short two-hour read.

The Boxer's Soliloquy Book Cover Matt Lucas

Healthypedia FAQ

Yes, Muay Thai can improve cardiovascular health by providing a full-body workout that elevates your heart rate, improving your overall cardiovascular stamina.

Yes, Muay Thai training involves a high level of mental and physical focus, which can improve the ability to stay present and enhance concentration.

Yes, studies have shown that Muay Thai training can help reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and stroke by improving cardiovascular health, reducing insulin resistance, and promoting fat loss

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