The word “boxing” brings into mind the picture of Rocky Marciano and Muhammad Ali fighting it out with their opponents and knocking them out. But boxing is no longer a sport.
In recent times, it has emerged as a popular way of sweating it out and staying fit. It is gaining acceptance among older adults through fitness boxing (a version of boxing).
When it comes to fitness boxing, one need not have any license to fight nor is there any need to enter into the ring and no associated injuries (no cuts near the eyes, cracked jawbone, cut lips, head trauma, etc.).
Fitness boxing has taken steps from boxing and adapted it into exercise routines. Fitness boxing has many benefits – changes your position and posture, and help you to stay alert constantly.
Fitness ClassesWhile traditional boxing requires you to have a go at your opponent, fitness boxing does not involve any partner and only requires you to throw punches, under supervision in a class, either at a punching bag or in the air.
Fitness boxing has two main variants. In the first variant, you imitate a leader and throw punches grooving to some bouncy music, aka aerobics class. Some of the moves include a combination of squats; large sweeping punches (hooks, crosses, uppercuts); smaller punches (jabs), short, quick steps going front, and back. The second variant involves stretching, strength training, and throwing punches at a punching bag.
You can also do throw punches while remaining seated.
Benefits of Fitness BoxingThere's no empirical data to suggest that fitness boxing is any way superior to other exercises, but it does have numerous health benefits.
The first one is strength. The constant swinging of arms results in movement of the muscles in shoulders and arms, and the increasing power of the upper body.
The boxer crouch position (wide stance, knees bent) helps in improving the core strength and muscles of the back and legs. Stronger muscles help in getting up from the chair quickly or lift any weights (bag of groceries).
It also gives you an excellent aerobic workout. Aerobic exercise helps in getting the heart pumping and reducing the risks of hypertension, stroke, heart disease, and diabetes.
Aerobics can also improve bone and muscle strength, helps in burning more calories, lifts your mood. It also boosts endurance, which helps in walking further distances or walk a flight of stairs without gasping for breath. Moreover, aerobic exercise is known to improve certain brain functions.
Boxing, in particular, helps in improving the hand-eye coordination, be it shadow boxing, hitting padded targets, or punching a bag.
Studies have shown that hitting a target with hands helps a person be more attentive, alert, and improves hand-eye coordination. Better hand-eye coordination translates into the ability to pick a pen or a pill easily in later stages of life. Last but not least, fitness boxing helps in improving balance (if standing). Constant changing of posture and position helps in improving the balance reaction.
This is very helpful when you become aged and can sidestep any impediments when you walk without the fear of falling.
Not For EveryoneAs good as it sounds, not everyone can take up fitness boxing. If you have osteoarthritis or osteoporosis of hands, then shadow boxing is better suited for you.
Any strong hits on the hands can increase the chance of your bone breaking. Like any fitness activity, get the go-ahead from your doctor before you embark on the regimen.
Any discomfort or pain should be immediately brought to the notice of your instructor and the doctor.
How To StartIf this article on fitness boxing has perked you up and you are interested, then check out classes at community centers, local YMCAs and health clubs.
Start slowly and increase the intensity gradually. Start at a lower intensity level and slowly increase it and once you reach a higher intensity and you are comfortable, then stick with it. Remember, consistency is the key and not the intensity.
Some Key Benefits At A Glance
- Improves posture
- Improves balance
- Strengthens core and upper-body muscles
- Enhances endurance
- Improves hand-eye coordination.
- Increases alertness
- Enhances mood