The sport of boxing is one with a long and storied history, spanning thousands of years and as far back as Ancient Greece. Whilst boxing may seem deceptively simple on its surface, it involves an unparalleled level of athleticism, hand-eye coordination, and honed-in reflexes.
Yet the benefits that boxing brings isn’t reserved exclusively for those who step into the ring. Its core disciplines can be used to create – or bolster – an effective exercise routine. Getting started can be as simple as acquiring a punching bag and boxing gloves, or even starting to learn the movements without any gear at all.
From some of the earliest Olympics and the iconic scenes of Rocky Balboa to watching internet influencers duking it out in the ring – boxing has always been part of the zeitgeist. Here are five ways that boxing as a workout will elevate your fitness journey along with your general wellbeing.
1. Builds stamina and strength.
It is difficult to overstate boxing’s potential boons to your endurance, both cardiovascular and muscular. A thirty-minute routine will go the distance in getting your lungs working and your heart pumping. This in turn builds towards a lower resting heart rate and better overall cardiovascular health.
Despite common misconceptions, boxing is a whole-body workout. When adhering to proper form, the action of delivering a punch requires the coordination of the arms, shoulders, chest and even your core. The core is constantly activated as it coordinates the lower and upper body movements. A good boxing workout will also include training of the legs and lower body, fancy footwork being famously associated with the sport.
2. Strengthens bones and joints.
As it is a weight-bearing exercise, boxing has the potential to increase bone mineral density and assist in mitigating the risk of osteoporosis and osteoarthritis. Bone mineral density typically peaks by the time a person hits thirty, decreasing from this point forward (without the presence of a healthy diet and exercise).
These weight-bearing exercises also improve the flow of blood and synovia (joint fluid) whilst boxing in particular places less stress on the back and on joints such as knees when compared with running (whilst also still burning calories at a similar rate). These grandmothers in South Africa have even turned to boxing to benefit their fitness and bone health in old age.
3. Improves balance and coordination.
Coordination and balance are key to the way a skilled boxer moves. In Muhammad Ali’s famous words: “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee; his hands can’t hit what his eyes can’t see.” The boxing discipline is a marriage of fundamentally contradictory athletic abilities. It requires both strength and agility, as well as a tremendous amount of coordination. This includes both hand-eye coordination and coordination between all muscles of the body.
Regarding balance, a recent study found that boxing therapy was an effective option for people with Parkinson’s disease, resulting in an 87% reduction in falls. If there is any doubt that boxing is good for hand-eye coordination, simply look towards anyone who is adept at using a speed bag.
4. Relieves stress.
Stress is a natural human reaction in the face of danger or an impending threat. Unfortunately, in many people’s modern lives those stressors can tend to be less tangible than a lurking predator and more along the lines of a looming deadline.
Prolonged stress can even lead to a slew of health problems including weight gain, problems with sleep, and even heart disease. Whilst stress can be helpful, it’s often healthiest to not fester in it for too long.
Whilst all cardio workouts are excellent forms of stress relief, there is certainly something that is viscerally satisfying about being able to relieve stress with a punching bag or a boxing routine. These activities also demand your attention and concentration, allowing your mind to slip away from your real-world stressors for their duration.
5. Keeps you guessing.
If you continuously explore what it has to offer, then boxing is bound to never leave you bored or unengaged. Where there are other workouts that can easily slip into monotony, boxing is constantly keeping you on your toes.
There is a reason that the sport has remained relevant for so long. Boxing is a renowned discipline and set of skills. There is constantly more to learn that will challenge you and keep you interested.
Boxing and its associated workouts never fail to adapt with the times either. Boxing workouts have even begun to find their way into Facebook’s metaverse, such as in a recently released VR game by Les Mills.
The benefits of adding boxing to your fitness regime are nearly endless. It is a superior form of cardio that helps build strength and fitness where it is needed without unnecessary damage to the body. It can be used to simply supplement your fitness journey, exploring the distinct skillset tied to a sport that is revered for the level of athleticism it demands, yet boxing’s more competitive and social aspects are always ripe for further exploration should that desire ever strike.
Either way, there is no reason not for everyone to reap the numerous benefits that the boxing workout has to offer.