The art of fighting has long been a common theme in almost every era of human history. From Asia to North America, fighting has been a core part of many cultures and ways of life. Some were forced to fight for entertainment and some had to learn how to fight to defend their country.
As we move deeper into the 21st century, fighting has branched out in a myriad of different styles and breeds, for instance, jiu-jitsu, karate, and muay thai are just some of many. One of the most popular and wide spread around the world is boxing.
Although there are some gruesome knockouts and epic matches, boxing isn’t just for turning your hands into lethal weapons. Boxing is often used in today’s world as a form of cardio and strength training for many people. Throughout this article, I will discuss the benefits of boxing for weight loss and reveal how boxing can benefit you no matter how fit you are.
What is Boxing?
Boxing is a sport where two people face off head-to-head in a square ring. Both are wearing, usually, around 8-12 ounce gloves. These gloves help to soften the blow from punches to the body and head. The objective of boxing is to either physically harm your opponent enough to where they can no longer fight or outperform them throughout the course of the fight and be declared the winner by the judges.
The sport of boxing has been documented in human history as far back as 3000 BC in ancient Egypt. The only equipment used back then were soft leather gloves that I’m sure didn’t do much to cushion the blows. As time has passed and technology has advanced, boxing has gone from almost barbaric to an accepted and very popular sport among millions of people worldwide.
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Benefits of Boxing
A list of the benefits of boxing can go on forever. Boxing, either competitively or non-competitively, can do wonders for your mind AND body. Below, I list some of the benefits that I believe to be the most beneficial.
Cardio: Boxing is used now more than ever as an effective cardio exercise. Not only will boxing have you dripping sweat and gasping for air, but it also is a fun and enjoyable form of cardio. Boxing uses almost every muscle in your body, including your shoulders, lats, chest, and legs, to effectively move around and throw punches. You have to be quick, light on your feet and focused to effectively impersonate a live boxing match. After 15 to 20 minutes, this constant moving becomes extremely tiring and you’ll soon realize why rounds in boxing only last a couple of minutes.
Self Defense: One of the obvious benefits of boxing is its ability to teach self defense. If you have never thrown a punch in your life, you will soon find out that it is not as easy as it seems. Throwing a punch requires focus, accuracy and strength to be able to hurl your arm through the air and effectively hit your target. Not only do you have to throw punches, but you also have to dodge and check punches to ensure that you take the least amount of damage as possible. After boxing for a couple of weeks, you will realize that your alertness, reflexes and fast twitch muscles will have made some major improvements.
Mental Health: Last but certainly not least, boxing does WONDERS for your mental health. Not only will you become more confident in your ability to defend yourself and kick anyone’s butt, but you will also find that boxing is a great way to clear your mind, take out anger, and work through the mental struggle of learning something new and improving at it. Whenever I’m having a bad day or something gets me upset, I either head to the gym or punch my reflex bag a couple of times. This tends to improve my mood and help me get whatever is bothering me out of my system.
Effective Boxing Exercises
There are many ways to utilize boxing as a workout. Even without any equipment, you can still get a killer exercise in.
Shadow Boxing: I wanted to start with the most accessible boxing exercise. To shadow box, the only equipment you need are your two hands and maybe a mirror, depending on if you want to watch yourself or not. All you have to do is get into a boxing stance (less dominant foot in front and other foot in back with your hands up in front of your face) and imagine you have an opponent right in front of you. You can start out slow, but you want to actually pretend and visualize that you are fighting this invisible opponent. Hit them with combos, dodge their punches and maybe even taunt them. Take this seriously for about 10 minutes, and not only will your hands improve, but your body will be begging for you to take a break.
Bag Work: In boxing, there are a multitude of different bags that you can practice on. The most common of these bags are the heavy bag, reflex bag and speed bag. Each one serves a different purpose that allows you to practice different aspects of your game. The heavy bag is for punch strength, the reflex bag is for your reflexes and precision, and the speed bag is for rhythm and hand speed. Whichever bag you possess can give you a heck of a workout for about 10-20 minutes as long as you use it correctly.
Sparring: For the average person who just boxes to get a good workout in, I wouldn’t recommend sparring. But if you are really into boxing and want to take your game to the next level, I would suggest you try it. Sparring is when two people, usually with protective equipment around their head and chest, box each other. It is a great workout and about as close to a real boxing match that you can get. One of my favorite parts about sparring is that you don’t even realize how good of a workout you’re getting because you’re more focused on your opponent and winning the fight.
Like I said earlier, one of the best parts of using boxing as a workout is that you don’t need any equipment. You can walk around all day pretending to fight someone, having fun and throwing hay makers while hardly noticing that you’re also burning calories.
For beginners, however, if you want to step up your game, I would suggest purchasing boxing gloves, tape (to protect your hands), and your choice of a heavy bag or a reflex bag. Once you master using these items, I would then move on and purchase the speed bag, punching mitts, and sparring equipment. I already linked where you can purchase most of these items in the previous section above.
Overall, boxing is not only extremely beneficial for self defense purposes, but it can also be used as a killer workout that will have you looking forward to cardio and burning calories with ease.
One of the best parts about boxing is that there is no need for equipment, especially for beginners. Sure, if you start to shadow box and fall in love and need to get your hands on some gloves and a punching bag, by all means go for it! But if you simply just want to get a good workout in and hate running on the treadmill, then boxing can be an amazing and cost-efficient option.
If you are at all interested in boxing and find yourself pondering if it is for you, it doesn’t hurt to try! Get off your butt and get at it!
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