Did you know that cardio doesn’t have to be boring? Don’t get us wrong, we love a nice long run in the crisp spring morning air. But sometimes, it’s nice to get off the treadmill or trails and move in a fun, new way.

And while there are a variety of cardio classes you could take to get your sweat on, if you haven’t taken a martial arts-inspired class before, you’re definitely missing out on the physical and mental benefits of this wellness trend. That’s right: Not only does kicking and punching your way to fitness sculpt your body, but it sculpts your mindset, too.

Here are four amazing physical and mental benefits of martial arts-inspired workout classes.

Get a serious sweat on

Kickboxing, boxing, Turbo Kick® LIVE, BODYCOMBAT®, STRONG by Zumba®—all of these cardio classes will get your heart rate up and your blood flowing, leading to a serious sweat and crazy calorie burn. With every kick and punch, you’ll work hard, sweat harder and release some energy.

Sculpt and tone

If you’ve never taken a kickboxing or BODYCOMBAT class, trust us when we say you’ll be sore the next day. Kicking and jumping will strengthen your legs, and punching and boxing will tone your arms, back and shoulders. Oh, and of course, each kick and punch sculpts your core, too. Attack your fitness from every angle with a class that engages every muscle.

Gain confidence and mental fortitude

Perhaps the coolest thing about taking a boxing or martial arts-inspired class is how strong you’ll feel during and after—and we’re not just talking physical strength. With every punch and kick, you’re gaining confidence in your ability to defend and protect yourself from whatever comes your way, and to roll with the punches. The best part? You don’t actually need to come into contact with anything to feel powerful—there is no equipment required!

Let off some steam

Had a stressful day at work? Kick it to the curb (literally) as you front kick, back kick and side kick in a martial arts-inspired workout class. Frustrated with a friend or family member? Take out your anger with every punch. Whatever you’re dealing with, it’s already proven that movement is a great antidote to a variety of emotions—including stress, anxiety, even depression. Instead of going home in a bad or stressed-out mood, get your workout in, your sweat on and let out some steam as you visualize fighting off anything that’s dragging you down.

Interested in trying a martial arts-inspired workout class? Try a BODYCOMBAT, STRONG by Zumba, Turbo Kick LIVE or similar class at 24 Hour Fitness.

Photo credit: Courtesy of Les Mills