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Boxing isn’t just for the advanced athletes and fighters of the world. In recent years boxing for fitness has gained popularity as an excellent way to stay healthy, improve body composition, and actually enjoy your workout. While boxing as a sport may require advanced athletic prowess, fitness boxing let’s the average gym-goer or fitness newbie hone the same skills professionals utilize, without having to stand in the way of a punch. Boxing has become the workout choice for celebrities, models, athletes, and those just trying to tone up and shed a few extra kilos.
Boxing is basically a 2-for-1 special, allowing you to get a strength workout AND a cardio workout in all in one session, making it the perfect fitness option if you don’t have a ton of extra time on your hands. Unlike other training programs, boxing incorporates movements from all of the body’s major muscle groups at once as it is a highly variable workout. Varying your workout is essential to effectively build lean muscle mass, and as boxing is a full body workout you’ll never be exhausting, or underworking, any muscle groups. The variability in the workout, and complete focus that it requires, makes time fly so you won’t ever have to anguish over the seconds ticking by on the treadmill. There’s always new techniques to learn, skills to sharpen, or people to spar so you’ll never get bored of your workout again.
Is Boxing a Good Cardio Workout?
Cardio is essential to keep up heart health, and an extremely effective way to burn extra calories, and lose (or maintain) weight. Unlike typical cardio workouts (treadmill, elliptical, cycling, running, etc.), that can be repetitive and boring, boxing’s mixture of movements works your upper body, back, core, and shoulders, not just your legs. A good cardio session should keep your heart working at maximum efficiency, resulting in moderate amounts of stress to your heart and lungs. This stress conditions them to work harder, and creates the physiological adaptations that will support higher levels of activity (meaning the more you train, the more you are conditioning your heart and lungs to handle more intense training sessions). Boxing is particularly beneficial in a cardio workout, as its full body workout naturally stresses the heart and lungs.
The Physical Benefits of Boxing
Boxing is the perfect combination of high-level cardio and whole-body strength training. Deriving power from your upper-body, core, back, and legs, resulting in a unique fitness experience. Boxing helps you to improve your body composition, as it builds up lean muscle mass, and burns off visceral fat. Higher amounts of lean muscle mass raise your metabolic rate and help your body burn calories quicker, and more efficiently. The constant twisting and turning involved in boxing strengthen the core and work the muscles that situps and crunches can’t target. This makes it more effective than training your abdominal muscles as an isolated group, resulting in a more balanced physique.
Boxing is also beneficial to improve coordination, agility and balance. As we age, our coordination and balance may become compromised, and by developing these skills now you can decrease risks of falls and other injuries later in life.
Boxing for Mental Health
Hitting the heavy bag doesn’t just benefit your beach body, it helps keep your mind sharp too. While exercise in general can do wonders for mental health, the cathartic release of physically hitting a heavy bag is an experience unlike any other. Releasing negative energy or pent-up emotions by channeling in into a high-intensity workout is a fantastic way to reduce stress, release anger and ease tension. Not to mention it helps train your brain to remain calm in potentially threatening situations that require quick response.
Mood BoosterEngaging in high-intensity workouts for an hour releases significantly more endorphins than an hour of light to moderate exercise. These increased levels of endorphins help boost your mood, improve sleep quality, and reduce levels of stress-related hormones in the body. Training releases toxins that have built up in the body due to internal stress, resulting in lowered stress levels and even an improved immune system! And since you typically transition between high intensity exercise and moderate recovery periods when you’re hitting the bag, you’ll be too busy trying to push yourself through those last few minutes of high-intensity punches to worry about anything else. Even during rest periods, you’ll be focusing on regaining the energy to get through the next high-intensity period.