Are you curious about trying boxing but nervous as to whether it’s right for you? Worried it might be too ‘full-on’ but keep coming back to the idea regardless? Read on to discover the multiple emotional and health benefits of boxing training and get ready to get in the ring!
Boxing is excellent cardiovascular exercise: it raises your heart rate and gets blood pumping around your body. Your heart is a muscle and boxing training works it hard. Skipping and pad practice work the entire musculature of your body and lung capacity increases to cope with increased demand for oxygen.
Boxing improves your co-ordination and reaction speeds: pad work – where you practice throwing punches against pads worn on the moving hands of an opponent – keeps your hand-eye co-ordination working overtime. And if you’re the one wearing the pads… Well, let’s just say you’ve got a powerful incentive to stay alert and land those punches safely – using the pads, not your face. Not only is this great brain training, but you will also notice the knock-on effects in other areas of your life too.
Boxing builds muscle mass and burns fat: increased muscle mass improves the appearance of your body, putting toned and sleek where before there was… well, to put it diplomatically, less toned and sleek. A greater proportion of muscle mass leads to an increase in body metabolism, meaning your body burns more calories throughout the day. Simply put, you can eat more without putting on weight.
Along with other forms of exercise, boxing has a positive impact on your emotional well-being. The size of this positive impact tends to be proportional to the intensity of the exercise, however, and if boxing is anything, it’s intense!
Boxing causes your brain to release endorphins, a.k.a. happy hormones. Not only do these chemicals make you feel super positive, but they also reduce your susceptibility to pain, meaning that you can push your workout harder… and enjoy it! This is also why exercise is normally recommended for anyone suffering with depression – the more endorphins you produce, the more you’ll want to produce – converting a negative spiral into an upwards one over time. For females, in particular, these hormones can also help to steady PMT symptoms, making for a less turbulent ride through your menstrual cycle.
As an anger management tool, boxing is second to none. If you know you have the kind of temperament that allows anger to flare up rapidly, boxing could be your go-to in order to ensure that rather than punching people in real life, you do it in the contained environment of the gym. After all, punching pads is a far preferable alternative but your anger will make little distinction.
Meditation might clear the mind, but did you know boxing can have a similar effect? Although the means are very different, the end result is closer than you might expect. By quite literally keeping you on your toes, during a boxing session you may find you move into a state of ‘flow’ – of oneness with what you are doing that leaves little to no room for distracting worries and negative states of mind.
Boxing builds resilience: a good boxing trainer will push you to work hard – taking you to the limits of physical endurance before letting you rest and recuperate. Over time, this builds not only exterior, but also interior strength. You know you can take more than you thought you could – both in the ring, and out of it. Life’s daily challenges cease to get in your way as your self-belief gets stronger and more constant. You will feel more self-confident and it will show in the way you handle yourself with peers and colleagues, or at home.
Of course, taking into account all of the above, it goes without saying that boxing is an excellent form of exercise for combating stress. Stress is associated with a whole host of health problems, including heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and obesity. Pull on your gloves and feel it literally melt away, taking a good percentage of your risk factors for these diseases with it as it goes.
So, you see – the benefits of boxing are numerous, whether you seek emotional well-being or improved health. Still not convinced? A good gym should be happy with you sitting in on a class to see what it entails – just go along and ask. They’ll be holding you back off the ropes before the end of the class! Always consult your physician before embarking on any new or particularly strenuous training program.
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