It can truly be said that boxing is in a class by itself when it comes to fitness trends. It’s been on the periphery of everyone’s radar for as long as a lot of us can remember. However, it never quite became something just about everyone was thinking about exploring … or, at least, that was the case until now.
These days, fitness-centric boxing goes well beyond niche programs like the Tae Bo kickboxing workouts we all got curious about back in the 90s. New franchises are popping up everywhere – franchises that represent a departure from the old-school boxing facilities people are familiar with. As a result, boxing is a fitness pursuit that’s become accessible to just about everyone. So if you’re thinking of giving it a try yourself, there’s never been a better time. Let’s take a closer look at why boxing totally deserves your attention.
1. Better Cardiovascular Health
If you’re fitness minded, then you already know that cardio is an important part of building a healthy heart and protecting yourself from heart disease. It helps you burn off excess calories and keep weight gain at bay as well. However, most of us get tired of trudging away on the treadmill after a while.
Boxing is challenging enough that it provides an excellent alternative to the standard cardio activities most people stick to. It certainly places enough stress on your heart and lungs to keep them in tip-top condition.
2. Enhanced Strength
Boxing isn’t just a great way to make sure you’re getting enough cardio action. It requires a surprising amount of muscle power, so it will help you meet your strength training goals as well. (Consider the fact that professional heavy bags typically weigh a minimum of 100 pounds.)
Best of all, boxing makes your entire body stronger, not just your arms. A typical boxing workout may require you to kick, punch, or otherwise engage multiple muscle groups hundreds of different times. The benefits really add up after a while.
3. Improved Hand-Eye Coordination
When you think of things you’d like to improve about the way your body functions, hand-eye coordination might not be the first thing that comes to mind. However, it’s an important part of true whole body health. To begin with, it’s critical when it comes to fine motor skills. Plus, people with excellent hand-eye coordination have faster reflexes, quicker reaction times, and are better coordinated in general.
Boxing is a stellar way to improve in this particular area. Whether you’re sparring with another boxer, working with a speed bag, or working out with a heavy bag, you need to be able to keep your eye on the target and react to it while it’s moving. It’s tough, at first, but the more you practice the better your hand-eye coordination will become.
4. Lower Stress Levels
As any fitness-minded person already knows, any exercise is an excellent way to keep your stress levels from soaring out of control. Not only does it stimulate the release of feel-good endorphins, but it can also improve the quality of your sleep and boost your mood. Many exercises can even act as a form of meditation, which helps reduce stress even further. Even so, there’s only so much walking and jogging a person can do before they’re ready to change things up.
Boxing is especially ideal as an outlet for stress for a couple of reasons. To begin with, most boxing workouts require you to alternate between high bursts of intense activity and moderate recovery periods. This makes them great for occupying your mind and taking off what’s bothering you. Also, many people find it incredibly therapeutic to unload their stress by literally punching it away on a heavy bag.
5. Promotes Solid Body Composition
If you’re one of the millions of people who just really wishes they had a better body, in general, but have had little luck with traditional weight loss or body sculpting programs, boxing may be the solution you’re looking for. Ultimately, looking good isn’t solely about losing weight. It’s about improving your overall body composition by decreasing fat and increasing muscle.
Boxing is an incredible way to do exactly that, as its very nature requires you to combine strength-building muscle-boosting moves with supercharged cardio stints. If you’re consistent at sticking with it and you maintain a healthy, nutritious diet, you will see significant improvements in the way your body looks and feels.
How to Get Started
Once you do make the decision to start boxing, you’ll need to decide what type of training you’re most interested in – training that simply helps people get into better shape or training that teaches you how to compete in a ring. The main difference between the two is that competition training will also cover how to hit and take hits from an opponent, so decide whether or not you’re interested in fighting other people at some point.
Non-competitive training is fine for the average person’s purposes. If that’s the case for you, look for a fitness-friendly boxing club or gym to join. Absolutely anyone is welcome to walk right in and get to it, even those who are out of shape or brand new to fitness. You can work at your own pace on your own, enlist the aid of a trainer, or take classes.
If you’re not really much of a gym rat, you can easily set up your own boxing space at home as well. To get started, you’ll need a medicine ball, a jump rope, a 75-100 pound heavy bag, and a pair of boxing gloves. Those four basic pieces of boxing equipment will make it possible to put together a full-body home workout that includes boxing sequences, strength training moves, and cardio bouts. Eventually, you can add to your home boxing area, speed bags and other items.
At the end of the day, it’s not hard to see why boxing has finally achieved the popularity it deserves. It’s not just great for getting in shape. It’s fun, challenging, and engaging as well. Give it a try for yourself today!