The benefits of boxing are endless, over the years boxing has been used by athletes, sporting teams and the general public as a form of health and fitness. It is the most used form of exercise among personal trainers and sports coaches. Correct boxing training not only works all areas of the body but all aspects of fitness such as; cardiovascular fitness, muscular endurance, muscular strength, stamina, co-ordination and power.
The above components of fitness can be related to many objectives of people who may be trying to lose weight, a football team wanting to increase their strength and stamina, or a tennis player wanting to gain more power.
Whatever your goal is there are always the physical and mental advantages to any type of exercise training.
When you think of boxing, you may picture greats like Rocky Marciano duking it out with Jersey Joe Walcott. But boxing isn’t just a sport anymore. It’s also a popular way to stay fit among older adults, through a version known as fitness boxing. There’s no getting into a ring or taking any punches, so there’s no risk of head trauma. Instead, fitness boxing has adapted the movements of the sport into exercise routines. “This kind of boxing has many health benefits, because it constantly requires you to think, change your position, and change your posture,” says physical therapist Linda Arslanian, director of rehabilitation services at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s hospital.
There’s no proof that fitness boxing is superior to any other types of exercise, but it does have many health benefits. One is strength. “You’re swinging your arms, moving the muscles of your arms and shoulders, increasing your upper-body strength. And when you’re in the boxer crouch with a wide stance, with your knees slightly bent, you’re strengthening your core muscles, back, and legs,” says Arslanian. Stronger muscles make it easier to get up out of a chair or carry a bag of groceries.
Fitness boxing is also a great aerobic exercise. Aerobic exercise gets your heart pumping and helps lower the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. It can strengthen bones and muscles, burn more calories, and lift mood. Aerobics can also boost your endurance, which helps you climb a flight of stairs or walk farther.
Plus, aerobic exercise is associated with improvement in certain brain functions. Arslanian says boxing in particular is well known for improving eye-hand coordination, especially if you’re sparring on a bag, hitting padded targets, or just “shadow” boxing. “There are studies that show trying to hit a target with your hands improves eye-hand coordination and possibly makes you feel more alert and attentive,” she explains. Better eye-hand coordination may also translate into an easier time picking up a pill or a pen.
And one last benefit of fitness boxing, if you are able to stand while doing it: better balance. “You’re changing your position and challenging your balance. The more you do that, the better your balance reaction becomes,” says Arslanian. “If you encounter a crack in the sidewalk, you may be more successful protecting yourself, because your strength and reaction time may have improved.”