By: Kelly Halonen, MSW, RSW
Have you ever tried boxing? I have found that it is a great way to get exercise and benefit my mental health. You can practice with a partner or do it on your own using a punching bag or just punching the air. Boxing can be great for any skill level.
Modifications can be made to help if you have an injury or if you just want to build up the skill slowly. I’m going to share with you some of the mental and physical health benefits of boxing in case this is something you would be interested in trying.
Physical Health. Exercise is good for your mind and body. Boxing can help you build up strength in your upper and lower body. It can help lower your blood pressure and limit your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. Boxing also helps to improve your hand-eye coordination, balance, and endurance. You may think that’s you’re just standing there punching, but boxing is much more. There is a lot of rotation throughout the core, foot and leg work, as well as punching and kicking. All of this gets your heart pumping in no time.
Boost Your Mood. Because boxing gets your heart pumping, it can help put you in a good mood. Endorphins are the neuro-transmitters that make you feel good, and they are released during exercise when your heart rate is elevated. So, the more you box, the better you’ll feel!
Stress Reliever. Boxing is a great way to get rid of any stress or anger that you may be feeling. The exercise helps work out the stress-energy in your body. Boxing can also be a great way to take out anger, as you can visualize what (or whom) you’re angry at, and take it out on the bag. As a bonus, it will leave you feeling more powerful in your mind and body, and the problems that make you stress out on a daily basis will not seem so big afterwards.
Focus. Boxing allows you to only focus on the task at hand. You need to pay attention to what combinations you are using, where you’re punching or kicking, and your footwork. All of this focus can help distract you from what is stressing you out in life, and give you a break.
Boost Your Confidence. Exercise can help get you moving and feeling good about yourself and how you look. Boxing adds another layer as it can make you feel bad-a$$ and strong. I found that learning something that I can use to protect myself helped boost my confidence as a woman.
Harvard. (2015). Punch up your exercise routine with fitness boxing. Harvard Health
Publishing: Harvard Medical School. Retrieved from https://www.health.harvard.edu/exercise-and-fitness/punch-up-your-exercise-routine-with-fitness-boxing.
March, B. (2018). 6 ways boxing can benefit your mental health: From self-confidence, to stress
relief – and much more. Harpers Bazar. Retrieved from https://www.harpersbazaar.com/uk/beauty/fitness-wellbeing/a19613933/boxing-benefit-mental-health/.
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