10 Reasons To Try (And Love) Boxing
Ready to float like a butterfly and sting like a bee? Prepare to fall in love with boxing and make it part of your workout routine when you learn about 10 of the top benefits of boxing - one of the most explosive, powerful, challenging and versatile training styles there is!
Boxing is often considered an elite sport, but there are several options on the Sweat app if you’re looking for boxing for beginners, such as On Demand boxing workouts or full-length boxing programs like HIIT with Monica Jones or her 4-Week Boxing Fit Challenge.
All of Monica’s workouts include a mixture of slow, rep-based movements and boxing basics, along with more complex combinations and explosive, high-intensity moves designed to get your heart rate up.
If you’ve ever wondered, is boxing a good workout? The answer is heck yes. Here are 10 reasons why.
Boost your cardiovascular fitness
Start any boxing workout and you’ll realise within mere seconds that it’s going to be an intense cardio session. Improving your cardiovascular fitness, stamina and endurance are a few of the primary benefits of boxing, making it a great training style to reduce your risk of conditions such as cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure.
Research from 2020 found a 6-week boxing program with three workouts per week successfully improved several health markers, while also reducing resting heart rate and increasing cardio fitness, vascular health and quality of life for individuals with elevated blood pressure or stage 1 hypertension.
According to Harvard Health, it’s also on par with competitive football or using a ski erg machine in terms of energy burn, surpassing training styles like jogging, swimming, calisthenics and circuit training. It’s a physically demanding way to exercise that can get you fit, fast.
Build full-body strength and power
When you think about boxing as a form of strength training, it’s common to assume it would only build muscle in your upper body, but boxing is actually great for full-body strength and conditioning.
After all, throwing a punch doesn’t just involve your arms and back but requires core strength and stability, as well as your lower body and hips to provide power. If your boxing workout involves knee strikes or kicks, you’ll be getting even more of a lower body burn.
One 2014 study aimed to investigate the effects of five weeks of kickboxing training on physical fitness, with subjects training for approximately 60 minutes per day, three-times per week. They found significant improvements in upper-body muscle power, aerobic power, anaerobic fitness, flexibility, speed and agility!
Besides working muscle groups across your entire body, boxing also targets those smaller stabiliser muscles in order to keep your body balanced when every punch, kick, twist or duck threatens to throw your body off centre.
Because boxing is a cardio, strength and high-intensity workout all at the same time, it’s a great training style to try if improving your body composition is one of your fitness goals. Incorporating boxing workouts alongside another training style? You’ll definitely see the athletic benefits pay off when it comes to your performance in other workouts, too.
An intense core workout, without being an “ab workout”
The movements involved in boxing, whether you’re air boxing or using pads or a bag, mean your core is always engaged and getting an intense workout without the need for a single ab exercise.
Bracing your core for impact is a natural bodily reaction, as is the muscular contraction involved in every rotation or bending motion. Try throwing a punch or kick without your core braced - it’s hard to do, doesn’t generate much power and can result in injury, too.
Great for balance, agility and coordination
Most forms of exercise are going to help improve your balance and coordination, but boxing puts a big tick in that box. Unlike traditional strength training where your feet remain planted in the same place for most of the movement, boxing requires you to be light on your feet and regularly (or constantly) move around.
As you punch, kick, twist and bend, your centre of gravity is also shifting in unpredictable ways which is great for improving your balance, reflexes, spatial awareness and overall coordination. You’ll also find making contact with a target is great for boosting hand-eye coordination.
One 2020 study aimed to compare the effects of boxing training on hemiparetic stroke patients. Their findings showed just how effective boxing is in improving upper extremity, balance and cognitive functions in patients with hemiparetic stroke.
Spice things up!
Boxing is a winner when it comes to variety. Perhaps you’re looking to try a new On Demand workout on the Sweat app each week to keep things interesting, you want to challenge your body in a different way to break through a plateau, or you want to find a more exciting training style. Whatever your motive, boxing is an incredibly fun and varied way to train.
Not only are there plenty of skills and movements to learn and master, but the boxing combinations are endless, you can use different pieces of equipment, or even recruit a boxing partner.
Choosing to train in ways you enjoy is a surefire way to stick with your fitness routine in the long-term, too.
Easy to adapt
Don’t have any boxing gloves, pads or bags? No problem, shadow boxing workouts offer the same benefits! Worried you don’t have any boxing experience or aren’t feeling super fit at the moment? That’s cool, too! There is so much fun to be had in learning the boxing basics, no matter your fitness background. But what about if you don’t have much space? Not to worry - a yoga mat is more than enough to get started with!
Boxing is such a versatile sport and it’s easy to get started, regardless of your equipment, experience or fitness level.
Take a load off
When you’ve had a frustrating day or are feeling wound up, one of the best and healthiest ways to release the tension is with exercise, and boxing has a great reputation as a fantastic stress reliever.
For starters, it’s an intense workout if you’re looking for a surge of those feel-good endorphins and increased circulation, but the physical and mental release of throwing a few punches and kicks (into the air or an inanimate object, of course) can work wonders.
Feel confident and powerful
The sense of empowerment you get from a sweaty boxing session is undeniable, but there’s also plenty to be said about the confidence you can build from seeing improvements in your fitness.
It’s so encouraging to see fast results and discover what you’re capable of, whether it be your reaction time, coordination, fitness, strength, agility, or even your ability to remember different combinations!
Reap the benefits of functional training
We’re big fans of functional training here at Sweat, which offers many benefits due to the way it mimics everyday movements.
While throwing a punch or kick isn’t exactly an everyday movement (well, we hope not!), the athletic skills involved in boxing workouts definitely are. It’s a training style that benefits your hand-eye coordination, balance, agility, reaction time and full-body muscular strength, not to mention all the bending, bouncing and twisting you’re doing!
Love your bones
All weight-bearing exercise is great for building bone strength, and boxing is a great way to make your bone health a priority due to the constant bouncing and explosive movements. Is it only beneficial for bone strength if you’re making contact with a bag or pads? Nope!
Research from 2003 aimed to explore the effects of long-term shadow boxing in the prevention of osteoporosis in older populations, finding that it exercises bone mineral density of elderly people effectively.
If you’ve always wanted to try boxing, why not give it a go? Whether you choose a boxing workout from the On Demand tab or dive straight into a Sweat program, you’ll quickly realise how much fun it is and just how great this training style is for your mind and body.
* Disclaimer: This blog post is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. The above information should not be used to diagnose, treat, or prevent any disease or medical condition. Please consult your doctor before making any changes to your diet, sleep methods, daily activity, or fitness routine. Sweat assumes no responsibility for any personal injury or damage sustained by any recommendations, opinions, or advice given in this article.