There was a time when boxing was a privilege of, well, boxers – no matter professionals or amateurs, but still people considering it their number one training focus.

As of lately, is definitely gaining huge momentum in the world of health and fitness! Depending on where you live, you may not notice the full magnitude of the trend, however brief research will likely reveal that many gyms in your town are offering group boxing classes. Personal trainers seem to recommend boxing to many people as well, regardless of their fitness level and body composition.

So, what’s the deal? And why exactly everyone started popping into the boxing classes all of a sudden – including fashion models, other celebrities, First Lady Michelle Obama and, of course, the average health-conscious folk?

Turns out boxing has numerous amazing health benefits! We’re going to review those – and hopefully, inspire you to try a boxing workout if you haven’t already. Warning, though: boxing seems highly addictive!

Top Benefits of Boxing

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If celebrity involvement is not inspiring enough for you (did we mention that some of the top Victoria’s Secret models are very much into boxing?), keep reading to find out more about a number of great benefits of boxing.

Improved Body Composition

By nature, boxing is a high intensity workout – which means it’s your best friend if one of your goals is fat loss. Did you know that one boxing session can burn up to 750 calories? Best of all, like with all HIIT-type workouts, you keep burning calories and fat even after the session is over [1]! No wonder those who get really into boxing tend to have very low body fat levels [2]…

Improved Total-Body Strength

Not only is boxing is a highly enjoyable form or cardio, it’s also a great full-body workout [2]! Of course, when you think of boxing, the first thing that comes to mind are powerful punches.

However, there is much more to it – firstly, the punches are incomplete without working the torso, back and shoulders. Another thing is, you will be bouncing on the balls of your feet a lot, which means working on both leg muscles and balance. Quick footwork is another leg-friendly factor to consider.

Better Hand-Eye Coordination

Excellent reactions are a must for boxers – to the point when they are able to react almost instantly to a barely detectable change within the external environment. For some high-level boxers, this comes naturally – but the rest of us can develop these skills simplpracticingising certain drills.

Of course, it is true that hand-eye coordination has deep roots to childhood – but trust us, the change is possible, and boxing is perhaps your best bet if you want to work on these skills as a developed adult.

Decreased Stress

Now, don’t get us wrong – certain levels of stress are perfectly natural and even beneficial. However, if you’re frequently experiencing stress beyond emergency situations, it may be time to put it in bay. Chronic stress is a shortcut to inflammation and sleep disorders [3], so taking steps to relieve your stress is very important.

This is exactly when exercise comes into play, and boxing is definitely one of the best stress relievers of the fitness world. This is because punching and hitting produce the same stress relieving response in our brain as if we were really angry and attacking. The physical act of punching enhances the effect, combining the benefits of physical and mental stress relief.

No matter how stressed and frustrated you are though, remember to punch safely! Protect your wrists and hands, don’t skip your warmup and don’t forget to take breaks between rounds to avoid muscle tension and pain.

Enhanced Cardiovascular Fitness

As we’ve discussed before, boxing encourages full body movement. This means that every punch involves many muscles, from tiny to major, to contract at the same time. To provide energy and oxygen for those hard working muscles, your heart and lungs are forced to work overtime, pumping oxygen enriched blood all around your body.

The harder you train – the greater the fat burning effect. Essentially, boxing tests your cardiovascular system to the max. Over time, your lungs and body will adapt, becoming much more efficient at delivering oxygen – which may be a good time to push yourself even further!

Note on the side – don’t push yourself beyond reasonable limitations. If you have any health concerns, discuss your intention to comment boxing workouts with your healthcare provider and your personal trainer.

Why Boxing Burns So Many Calories

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This is the question personal trainers often get from boxing newbies, who simply can’t believe that boxing is so much better for fat loss than, say, jogging! The answer is quite simple, however, especially considering everything we’ve discussed above:

  • You’re working on your entire body, which means a lot more of your muscles are involved, and they all need energy to perform
  • Boxing has an in-built interval training component due to its rhythm of various combination and pauses in between
  • If you’re using props such as punchbags, you also get resistance training, which is very energy demanding
  • Some sessions may incorporate demanding plyometric moves, such as burpees an jump squats
  • With the right trainer, you’ll be constantly pushing through your imagined limits

This is not to mention boxing’s effects on metabolism!

Boxing’s Effects On The Muscle Metabolism

As we’ve discussed above, boxing promotes muscular contraction, and this process causes causes notable changes in the substrate and enzymes involved [4]. Very stressful physical work, such as intense boxing sessions, induces changes in the serum levels of myoglobin and creatine phosphokinase (CK) [4].

This means that by participating in boxing workouts, you will gain strength much faster compared to many other forms of exercise!

Recap

As you can see, modern boxing is much more that “just a sport”. This fitness trend is emerging for a reason – with so many health benefits, boxing workouts are a true gem of the exercise world. Cardiovascular health, healthy weight management, improved strength and coordination, powerful stress relief – what more to wish for?

If you’re still skeptical, that’s OK – trying something new often triggers this reaction. Here’s the deal: don’t overthink it, get a single group class pass or contact a professional personal trainer, leave the doubts behind and just try a boxing workout. Maybe give our BOX classes a go and we promise you will be hooked!

After all, what do you have to loose? most boxing sessions only last 30-45 minutes, rarely an hour, but not more than that.

References

  1. Obadike, O. (2016) “Why does HIIT burn so much fat?”. Source: http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/ask-the-ripped-dude-hiit.html
  2. Chaabène, H., et al (2015) “Amateur boxing: physical and physiological attributes.” Sports Med. 2015 Mar;45(3):337-52. doi: 10.1007/s40279-014-0274-7.
  3. Lowry, C.A., et al (2016) “The Microbiota, Immunoregulation, and Mental Health: Implications for Public Health”. Curr Environ Health Rep. 2016 Sep;3(3):270-86. doi: 10.1007/s40572-016-0100-5.
  4. Zuliani, U., et al (1985) “Effect of boxing on some metabolic indices of muscular contraction.” Int J Sports Med. 1985 Aug;6(4):234-6.