The Benefits of Boxing on Your Health

Longevity Exercise Physiology and Personal Training Edgecliff, Lindfield, Marrickville, Randwick, Drummoyne, Balmain and Bella Vista explore the great benefits boxing can have on your health.

When you hear the word boxing, you might think of two blokes slogging it out in the ring with nothing but a pair of shorts and a pair of gloves–something that you might glance at down at the local pub tv with a beer in one hand.

But boxing isn’t just a sport anymore. It is now also popular exercise to increase fitness amongst older adults and those with chronic conditions. You don’t enter any ring whatsoever and you don’t take a single punch to the body. There’s zero danger of head trauma, but plenty of thinking with your head. There’s no crowd around you except you and your exercise professional. All the movements of boxing are adapted into an exercise routine to help you get health benefits while keeping things interesting and fun. So what are these benefits you may ask?

  1. Improved body composition

A study in 2012 investigated the effects of a 12-week aerobic boxing program on a group of middle-aged obese women. These women (who have never done boxing before) demonstrated increases in muscle mass, reduced body fat percentages and reduced weight. They also had improvements in blood circulation and blood components including reduction in total cholesterol, triglycerides and LDL (the bad cholesterol), as well as an increase in HDL (the good cholesterol).

What does this mean for your health?  It means that it can prevent or help treat conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, obesity and other cardiovascular disorders. The study also goes to show that you do not need to be young or very fit to implement boxing into your exercise routine.

2. Increase full body muscular endurance, strength and power

It’s a common misconception that boxing purely an arms workout. As you throw your punches, yes you will feel your shoulders, triceps and chest activating. However, to generate speed and power you’ll need to utilise hip and trunk rotation, as well as create midline stability with your core so that you can move your arms without losing balance. All your upper body muscles will need to contract explosively to create torque and as well as slow down movements as you hit the pads. Furthermore, your boxer’s stance with knees bent will activate not only your core, but your back and your legs as well. These muscles become engaged as you change position and posture throughout your routine.

What does this mean for you? Improving the strength, endurance and power of your muscles will make it easier to get up out of a chair or carry a bag of groceries. You may also be able to push that lawn mower for longer without having to take a break or find it easier to lift your laundry baskets.

Boxing as an aerobic exercise increases your cardiorespiratory fitness through engaging multiple muscles and elevating your heart rate. It can help lower the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. In addition to strengthening muscles and burning more calories, boxing can also boost your endurance. This means that it can improve your ability to climb a flight of stairs or walk further without taking breaks.

3. Increase aerobic capacity

Boxing as an aerobic exercise increases your cardiorespiratory fitness through engaging multiple muscles and elevating your heart rate. It can help lower the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. In addition to strengthening muscles and burning more calories, boxing can also boost your endurance. This means that it can improve your ability to climb a flight of stairs or walk further without taking breaks.

 

4. Increase balance

For those who are able to stand while boxing, the incorporation of position and postural changes in boxing routines will be a great challenge for your balance and mobility. It can improve your balance reaction and thus allow you to walk around the community, jog or even run with the reduced risk of tripping or falling.

5. Improve bone mineral density

Boxing can improve bone strength, especially for those at risk of developing osteoporosis, in two main ways. Firstly, there has been evidence to suggest that impactful exercises (e.g. running, jumping, boxing) that create repetitive yet controlled stress on the muscles and bones stimulates an increase bone mineral density. This means that boxing could ultimately reducing the risk of developing osteopenia or osteoporosis and potentially even reversing the conditions in some cases.

Secondly, boxing naturally creates mechanical strain through external loads on the skeleton—that is the action of muscles and tendons pulling on the bones when you use them to punch—, which is another an effective stimulus to promote bone mineral density adaptations. This would normally be achieved through resistance exercise, for example.

6. Relieve stress

At its core, boxing a perfect way to release stress, with at least 75% of Australians admitting that stress affects their physical health. We all know exercise promotes release of endorphins, the feel-good chemical. Boxing compliments this through ‘controlled aggression’—that is, connecting your punches with something hard to relieve muscle tension that can accumulate when you experience stress. As you continue to punch, you will find your focus is improved, increasing your concentration and helping you forget about why you are stressed.

 

Contact Longevity Personal Training and Exercise Physiology Edgecliff, Lindfield, Marrickville, Randwick, Drummoyne, Balmain, Bella Vista on 1300 964 002 to enquire today.

References:

Zhang, Seok-Am, & Kim, Seung-Suk. (2012). The Effect of Boxing Aerobic Participation on Body Composition, Blood Components and Vascular Elasticity in Obese Middle-aged Women. Journal of the Korean Society of Industry-Academic Technology, 13 (9), 4009–4017. https://doi.org/10.5762/KAIS.2012.13.9.4009

Written by Jackie Cheung

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