Boxing is a combat sport that has been practiced since before the time of ancient Greece and the original Olympics. It has been used to train people for performance in the art of striking, as well as general physical conditioning.
Recently, it has become more popular as a form of exercise. When people box for fitness, they often use a punching bag, avoiding the physical contact that can lead to concussions and other injuries. However, boxing for fitness still provides boxing’s inherent benefits.
Typical boxing exercise includes movement and footwork drills to evade punches, as well as punching drills on equipment like heavy bags, speed bags, and focus mitts. Boxing can also be performed virtually via gaming systems that have movement sensors.
In addition, many boxing exercise programs involve other conditioning exercises, such as jumping rope, calisthenics, and running.
Practicing the sport is not only a great way to improve your physical fitness but also a fun way to challenge your mind and body.
This article lists 6 benefits of boxing, all back by science.
1. Improves heart health
Boxers must have the ability to perform frequent bouts of high intensity activity during a training session or boxing match. The sport is a form of high intensity interval training (HIIT) and can push your body to repeatedly sustain intense bouts of activity
High intensity interval training has been associated with a decreased risk of heart disease
Plus, boxing can improve your aerobic fitness. In fact, one study found that boxer rankings were directly correlated with markers of heart health
2. Aids weight loss
High intensity boxing training has been shown to decrease body fat and improve overall body composition more than other activities like
For example, a 150-pound (68-kg) person can burn 390–558 calories, or more if conditioning exercises are included, in a 60-minute session. The number of calories burned will vary by the intensity level, as well as factors like whether you’re hitting a bag or sparring
Even exergaming, which involves simulated boxing performed using a gaming system, effectively burns calories
This may help increase activity levels among people who may be less inclined to participate in a live training or exercise program. In addition, many people may be more comfortable with a gaming system in their hands, compared with a pair of boxing gloves.
3. Boosts whole-body strength
While most people may think punching power only comes from the shoulder, the act of throwing a punch involves the entire body.
A good punch involves the lower limbs pushing against the ground and the coordination of the rest of the body to deliver power through the strike. Therefore, the lower limbs, as well as the core muscles a significant part of the punching movement
4. Improves balance
Boxing is a movement-intensive activity. It involves coordinated footwork, developing reactive movement strategies to changing conditions, and the muscular strength mentioned above.
These all help improve attributes of balance. In fact, one study found that a boxing program improved balance among people recovering from a stroke
What’s more, boxing has been used as a method to treat Parkinson’s disease— a debilitating neurological disease that affects the body’s ability to perform complex movements. As the disease progresses, it increases a person’s risk of falling.
In a recent study on decreasing fall risk and improving balance scores among people affected by Parkinson’s disease, boxing training improved these issues
5. Decreases stress
There’s a truly cathartic effect that comes from letting out your stress in a healthy way, such as by punching a bag or focus mitt.
Boxing training can vary in intensity throughout a workout, although most boxing training and conditioning programs tend to follow a HIIT protocol, which can help relieve stress.
Research has observed mood improvements among those who practice this type of training
6. Lowers blood pressure