Kickboxing course improves cardio, gets ‘heart pumping’

Professor teaches kickboxing without contact aspect

By Dylan Collier, Advocate Staff

Most people have a passion for one sport that they carry with them for the rest of their lives.

It will always be a part of them, and people find a way to share that passion.

Physical education adjunct professor Alena Sumner teaches a very unique class that gets the heart and lungs going without the contact aspect of the sport.

Sumner has taught here at Contra Costa College for approximately three years and worked in the district since 1996.

Her voice reverberates through the air inside GA-10, as she works with students from all walks of life.

The kickboxing class is made up of a few high school students, CCC students, and one senior taking the class.

Sumner focuses on the healthier side of the sport—cardio.

The way that she has the class structured is so that they are constantly moving, especially while working on the kickboxing drills, and run one-and-a-half miles once a month on the track.

“Most of the time we do our kickboxing in the (Gym Annex Building),” she said.

“This is where we work on techniques,” Sumner said. “Once a month I focus on aerobic endurance and have the class run around the track for one-and-a-half miles, for assessing their time.”

All students enrolled in her class agree that it is a good workout and they are tired by the end of the hour-and-twenty minutes.

“I like physical activities and also have a background as a kinesiology instructor,” Sumner said.

It makes sense that cardio kickboxing is taught all three semesters, because exercise is a necessity for people to stay healthy and the key to longevity.

Sumner is a good model for people of all walks of life to stay very physically active, and values physical fitness above all else.

“We offer the class during the fall, spring and summer,” Sumner said.

The diverse group of students each has their own favorite part of the class.

For example, some prefer the cardio, some prefer going through the routines of the kickboxing, but most seek to improve their stamina.

“My favorite part of the class is warming up, and when we are using muscles I didn’t even know were stretchable,” engineering major Jose Medina said.

“I enjoy it because it’s a good workout in such a short period of time.”

First, the class does a warm-up session.

Then, they do stretching and a “shuffle” exercise that works the thighs, glutes and core muscles.

Next, students work on maneuvering an imaginary jump rope, followed by an imaginary speed-bag.

Sumner periodically walks around the room providing feedback to the students who need it the most.

Kinesiology major Denise Smith even compared part of what they do in the kickboxing class to another rather rhythmic activity.

“My favorite exercise technique is the shuffle because it reminds me of dancing,” Smith said.

“I like the class, because I enjoy getting the heart pumping. It makes me happy and improves my mood,” she said.