Why Boxing Can Improve Your Overall Fitness And Mental Health

Boxing is a great exercise for both physical and mental development.

Boxing has developed into a fitness trend that many have begun to gravitate towards. While some see it as a workout for hard core athletes, you don’t have to fight in the ring to get the great health benefits boxing has to offer. Seeing a boom in recent years, this fitness trend is only continuing to grow as people look to add a new level of intensity to their workouts.

With many people starting to see their health and fitness as more of a lifestyle than just a hobby, that self-awareness and focus towards personal health, both physically and mentally, has sparked interest in unique ways of training. Boxing has been around for centuries and while we all associate it with big names and pay-per-view fights, the benefits of boxing go far beyond just a good workout.

Instead of spending so much time in the gym lifting weights and hitting the treadmill, although those are still great options to improve your fitness, a boxing workout can offer different solutions to your training regimen. By increasing your heart rate and working on strength, you not only develop physical gains but mental ones as well in order to lead a good lifestyle both inside and out of the gym.

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Boxing Basics

While this sport is intricate and requires advanced training once at higher levels, the basics are important to understand to make this as efficient as possible. Learning a combination of punches will allow you to enhance your overall speed and endurance to continue to thrive in the ring.

Some basic movements include jabs, crosses, uppercuts, and hooks and once you nail these, you can add different combinations to activate your core and look good doing it. Adding a bag to your workouts will provide for resistance and will work to strengthen your muscles as well.

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Benefits of Boxing

Improve Cardio

The challenge with a continuous movement like boxing is that you place added stress on your heart and lungs to power you through the workout. As a result, you increase aerobic capacity and strengthen your heart and lungs to handle more (1). Keeping your heart rate elevating is key to improving cardio and really working to enhance overall endurance.

Promote Total Body Strength

With such a complex movement, the constant strain on your arms, legs, and core makes boxing a great total body workout. Through quick movements, pivots, and advanced foot work, your legs will feel the burn as you use them to move from your opponent. The repeated stress your upper body takes by hitting the bag, which is providing resistance, forces your upper body muscles to work and an engaged core will provide for balance, stabilization, and solid form to fire up all muscles (2).

Develop Hand-Eye Coordination

Hand-eye coordination is important to develop one’s fine motor skills and works to target faster reaction times and better reflexes (3). Whether you use a speed bag or spar with an opponent, watching a fast moving target and working to strike effectively will not only develop hand-eye coordination but exponentially enhance it.

Burn Calories

Between your increased heart rate and the amount of fuel it takes to power a boxing workout, you will start to shed calories as you head towards that desired physique. By creating a calorie deficit, you are well on your way to getting that shredded body. With help from your metabolism, which is surely fired up as it looks for continuous fuel, your weight loss goals become closer than you think.

Relieve Stress

Those who box tend to feel that their stress levels decline. Any form of physical activity can really enhance mood since it releases endorphins to make you feel good (4). On top of that, you know you did something to better yourself and your overall health. But something about boxing really lets you release built up frustration and punching a bag, albeit an inanimate object, gives you an empowered sense that you are taking down whatever causes you stress in the first place.

Boost Self-Image and Confidence

By burning calories, increasing muscle mass, and working on cardio, your overall body composition will change and your self-image will improve. The way you view yourself matters and you want to be proud of who you are. With that increased level of self-image, your confidence will surely improve and your overall mental health will be greatly enhanced. Boxing is also a difficult sport and by doing this as exercise, you will prove to yourself that you truly can do it.

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Finding The Right Gym

Many boxing gyms exist and there are two kinds: those who train competitive boxers and those who train everyday people looking to get fit. There are also studios which offer classes that may be formatted slightly differently than a workout in a gym. If you are someone looking to learn more advanced techniques to get into the ring with someone else, find a gym that works for you in that regard. But if you just want to learn the craft and get fit doing so, make sure you look for the right gym near you so you don’t accidently end up in the ring.

Wrap Up

Boxing is one of those fitness trends that shows no signs of slowing down. The physical benefits of weight loss, increased muscle mass, and improved cardio are equally matched by the mental benefits of stress relief and increased confidence. If you are looking for a challenge or a way to mix up your workouts, look into boxing gyms near you to start your new journey into this centuries old sport. The process of getting fit should be challenging but also fun, and with boxing, you will surely find the best of both worlds as you seek to achieve whatever your desired goals are.

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*Images courtesy of Envato

References

  1. El-Ashker, Said; Chaabene, Helmi; Negra, Yassine; Prieske, Olaf; Granacher, Urs (2018). “Cardio-Respiratory Endurance Responses Following a Simulated 3×3 Minutes Amateur Boxing Contest in Elite Level Boxers”. (source)
  2. Ruddock, Alan D.; Wilson, Daniel C.; Thompson, Stephen W.; Hembrough, Dave; WInter, Edward M. (2016). “Strength and Conditioning for Professional Boxing”. (source)
  3. Harvard Helath Letter (2015). “Punch up your exercise routine with fitness boxing”. (source)
  4. Jackson, Erica M. (2013). “Stress Relief: The Role of Exercise in Stress Management”. (source)
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Austin Letorney is a writer, actor, and fitness enthusiast. As a former rower, he has shifted his focus to sharing his knowledge of the fitness world and strength sports with others.