Boxing has become a hugely popular combat sport, but what people do not realize is just how healthy a sport it is. Obviously, most people know that it builds muscles and strengthens your arms which is good but there are other amazing health benefits that will come as a surprise to many people. There are a lot of hidden health benefits to boxing that we are going to focus on here and they may well change people’s view of the sport.
The already recognized health and fitness benefits of boxing
One huge benefit is that it teaches self-defense tactics. These techniques can help in real life situations and potentially save you from harm. Having powerful arms and fists may enable you to knock someone out with one swift punch. Boxing relies a lot on using fists for defense and offense and so learning how to ‘throw punches’ is definitely involved in learning how to box.
Joining a boxing class you will learn a variety of different punches, like the short and quick jab, the cross or straight, or the hook. Mike Tyson was known for his ‘hook’ which instilled fear into his opponents. At classes you will also learn how to avoid being attacked and how to handle attacks, with things such as bobbing and weaving between punches. The great thing is that you’ll learn all this in a supervised, safe and controlled setting and will gain the confidence needed if you are confronted outside on the streets.
Boxing will help to improve your cardiovascular fitness. The training that you will get in a boxing class, unlike the training you need to play for free spins, will improve your aerobic and anaerobic cardio systems. There is a lot of running, and skipping drills involved in training for this sport. Working out with a punching bag is a huge part of training. Your cardio fitness levels will improve over time as a result of the training which is why boxers are able to go for 12 rounds in a matching box which is no small feat.
Boxing enhances muscle strength, including your core muscles and endurance. A study carried out looking at the effects of doing boxing training once a week for a 12- week period saw that participants’ hand reaction time really improved. They also found that they were able to do more push- ups. Boxing training also leads to students developing stronger punches and less muscle fatigue in their arms.
Boxers also develop more strength in their mid-section because the core is very much involved when throwing and absorbing punches. Some boxes have incredible ab definition because of the amount of training involved.
Losing body fat
You are going to burn a huge number of calories in a typical boxing class. It easily beats running on a treadmill. Also joining a class, you will have fun punching that heavy bag rather than the boredom of looking straight ahead while you run on a treadmill.
Hidden health and physical benefits of boxing
Enhanced body composition
Most of us go to the gym to work out in order to get our bodies looking and feeling better. Boxers are really in good shape. Apart from heavyweight boxers, they have little body fat and a good amount of muscle. Body weight training that boxers do will get you in shape in a shorter time than spending all your time at the gym
Improves your hand/eye coordination
Studies have found that boxing will improve your hand/eye coordination. The type of training that boxers do using punching bags and other pieces of equipment focusses their hands and eyes on incoming targets. Over time it will be possible to see quicker responses than when they started to train.
Boxing will make you more agile
With training you will begin to see your agility levels improve. Some research has shown that agility levels particularly in those involved in martial arts are higher than those doing other sports. Boxers develop high agility levels in their training because they need to be able to react and change their motion very quickly. All the agility drills they do in training like side-to-side shuffles, ducking and bobbing all help to improve agility levels.
Thus the famous Muhammed Ali quote: “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.“
Much research has shown that practicing Martial Arts enhances balance. This is due to the repeated drills and continual performance of specific motions which improve balance. In fact, taking up boxing can be useful for older people who are having problems with balance as this may help to improve it.
Generates mental resilience
Boxing is a tough sport. After enduring what the sport involves you will find yourself rewarded with having more mental grit. As you manage those difficult situations without giving up you will find yourself becoming mentally stronger, able to withstand more. This new mental toughness will help you in all areas of your life.
Strengthens your bones
Boxing is a weight-bearing activity and enhances bone density. A study carried out on amateur boxers looked at their calcium levels and found that their bone density levels were higher than those in the control group. Continually using your arms in boxing training will naturally lead to stronger bones.
Brings down stress levels
Any kind of physical activity is known to improve your mental state, and particularly your stress levels. Boxing, and the mechanism of “mindfulness practice that is utilized in training” is able to influence and reduce stress levels, according to the European Journal of Human Movement. We also know that exercise releases endorphins which have the effect of making us feel good and relaxed.
When you know that you are a good boxer, a good fighter, this raises your self-confidence. You are not afraid of anything. You know you can handle yourself in a difficult situation. Physically you are in good shape, you look good and you are not carrying any extra weight. All this will definitely make you feel good about yourself.
Roberto Villa is the CEO, Founder, Executive Writer, Senior Editor of FightBook MMA. Has a passion for Combat Sports and also a podcast host for Sitting Ringside. He’s also a former MMA fighter and Kickboxer.
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