It’s time to lace up your gloves and get in the ring! Boxing is becoming a popular choice for men and women in America who want a great workout—and they’re feeling the benefits of the sport outside the ring.
History (and growth) of boxing
Boxing didn’t start with greats like Rocky Balboa or Muhammad Ali. Ancient carvings from Egypt and present-day Iraq indicate that people have been boxing for more 5,000 years.
The early boxers were brutal, often ending in death or serious injuries to the losing competitor. Boxing was banned or discouraged in different parts of the world for centuries, and slowly became safer for athletes. In the late 1800s, boxing gloves were proposed by the Marquess of Queensberry. The sport was legalized in America in the early 1900s, introducing the “golden age” of boxing to the country. Since then, the sport has experienced booms and busts, becoming popular with the rise of boxers like Mike Tyson and Muhammad Ali. While boxing was declining in popularity in the 90s, America has caught boxing fever again, and the sport is gaining popularity in gyms across the country.
You’ve probably seen “non-traditional” boxers on your Instagram feed. Models like Gigi Hadid or Kendall Jenner have been photographed boxing quite frequently. They aren’t just posing for ads or using boxing as a one-time workout. Americans who have started boxing keep coming back for the mental and physical benefits that follow them out of the ring.
Benefits of boxing
Boxing is a unique sport that combines cardio with hand-eye coordination and strength to build a great workout for every part of your body. Once you start boxing, you will start feeling better about the way you exercise and the way you feel. Athletes, couch potatoes, and everyone in between can enjoy the following benefits from boxing:
- Rock-hard abs
Boxing challenges your balance, which requires core strength. Moving through different boxing stances and holding your ground can build abs without any crunches. Pair your new ab muscles with the fat-slimming effects of cardio, and you may just start seeing your six-pack emerge. Strong abdominal muscles also promote better posture.
- Strong heart
Boxing is a great way to get your cardio in; training for 15 minutes can burn as many calories as an hour of running. Aerobic exercises like boxing have a number of benefits. Increasing your heart rate can strengthen your heart and lungs, slow down the aging process of cells in the body and improve your overall health.
- Lean, toned muscles
Boxing lengthens muscles rather than bulking you up. More women are hitting the gym now, building mass without looking too buff. Punching, dodging, and holding your stance hits muscles throughout the body.
- Improved hand-eye coordination and focus
Boxing in front of a punching bag gives you a number of benefits, but you gain even more when you start to spar with another opponent. In order to dodge punches, you have to stay focused. In order to land your hits, you have to work your body as one unit. These mental benefits of boxing leave the ring with you.
Boxing’s benefits beyond fitness
- Less Stress
Get all of your worries out in the ring. High-intensity exercises help to reduce stress. Boxing is no different, especially when you put your worries in the punching bag and start swinging. During your workout, your brain releases endorphins, which give you an ecstatic feeling.
Sure, your body is starting to look great, but your good feelings don’t come exclusively from looking in a mirror. Sharpening your mind and releasing stress can increase confidence no matter what task you face in your life.
No one becomes a professional boxer overnight. In order to see the benefits of boxing, you will have to keep training and sparring for a few months. Once you do start to see the benefits of the sport working on your body, you’ll start to realize that you still have much further to go on your boxing journey. Boxing can continue to teach you new lessons over years.
No boxer goes through sparring without taking a few hits. The adrenaline and high emotions that you feel before a match may be hard to control when you first experience them. But boxing builds discipline. After a few matches and months of training, you will be able to harness any emotions to face any challenge.
Ready to improve your body and mind? Boxing may be the answer to losing weight and building confidence in and out of the gym. Sign up for a few training sessions at your local gym. Before you know it, you may be hooked.