5 Surprising Benefits of Boxing That Will Keep You Healthy
Whether you’re a beginner or professional, boxing is a great sport to build determination and resilience. It challenges hand-eye coordination and focus, and boosts self-confidence and optimism.
It’s hard to deny the feeling of gratification that comes along with boxing, but did you know its benefits go beyond just mindset? Physical health and boxing go hand-in-hand, causing changes which not only work to improve current wellness, but positively affect the body for years to come.
Doctors and health professionals have made it a point to show the importance of our cardiovascular strength on our overall well-being. In fact, according to guidelines promoted by the Public Health Agency of Canada, 150 minutes of moderate exercise is needed a week to maintain a strong heart and prevent associated diseases.
Boxing is a fast-paced and often high-intensity sport. This allows for an elevated heart rate and improved blood flow throughout the body, which is essential for a strong cardiovascular system. By focusing on aerobic movement and cardio activity, manageable stress is exerted and has the benefit of reducing chances of type 2 diabetes, artery blockages, and heart failure.
Getting your blood pumping and heart racing is something boxing is known for, making it the perfect choice for keeping in good cardiovascular health.
From training to boxing matches, boxing improves bone strength in every aspect of the sport, promoting an injury-free future.
As we age, our natural strength and bone density depletes, increasing our risk of injuries such as fractures. This is mainly caused by a rise in sedentary behaviour and a poor exercise routine. However, according to the American College of Sports, engaging in boxing and similar physical activities decreases the likelihood of more serious weakness-related injuries or osteoporosis.
In boxing there is a focus on resistance training, which enables tension in the skeleton and functions to stimulate bone strengthening. Impact activities, like punching boxing bags or sparring, also affect bone density, as frequent training shows mineral density maintenance. Even classic warm-ups like jump rope contribute to health in the long-term.
Body composition is the body’s ratio of fat related mass to non-fat mass, such as bones, muscles, and organs. A healthy structure has more non-fat mass, which is a key contributor to wellness, and reduces the risk of illnesses related to high-blood pressure, diabetes, and heart failure.
Boxing has a direct effect on body composition, and in turn, acts as a preventative method for related health detriments. Deliberate physical activity works by expending energy, which breaks down fat and builds up lean muscle. This results in a healthier body composition through more active muscles. And with the high amounts of energy being consumed while boxing, both in training and in the ring, a healthier lifestyle can be achieved.
Although sleep quality may not be the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about boxing’s health benefits, it is nonetheless essential for wellbeing.
Adults need 7-9 hours of good quality sleep each night, according to CSEP, or they risk immune suppression and higher likelihood of illness contraction. High quality sleep requires longer periods of rest, less rousing interruptions, and meeting government recommendations.
Boxing can be a perfect way to meet these expectations and prevent unnecessary sickness. The greater your aerobic level, the more likely you are to experience adequate rest. Boxing provides regular exercises through warm-up, training and sparring, letting the body experience high amounts of physical activity. This then contributes to a more restful sleep and a stronger, more effective immune system.
Boxing not only improves on your mindset but has the added benefit of protecting you from weakened and ill-functioning bodily systems.
Much like poor sleep quality, high stress levels are a significant contributor to a weak immune system and is connected to an increase in physical illness. Professionals in the medical field have found that those who experience chronic stress have interruptions in their sleep-wake cycles, influencing necessary biological processes and creating health vulnerabilities.
Fortunately, boxing can help in addressing stress by providing an outlet for frustration and a method of building on coping characteristics, such as perseverance and optimism. By engaging in a sport that relies on resilience, focus is aimed more on movements and less on external stressors. The sense of community that also comes with boxing creates a safe and welcoming environment that fosters growth and stress adaptability.
Taylor Villa is a Queens University undergraduate student in a dual major program of political studies and sociology, and a freelance editor/writer specializing in Fitness, Health, and Wellness.