Boxing: The Two-In-One Cardio And Strength Exercise
Written by: Taylor Rao
If you think yoga is good for your mind, body and spirit, you might want to take it up a notch in the cardio department and add boxing to your workout routine to improve your physical and mental health.
Is there any better stress relief out there than punching the you-know-what out of a stationary object and getting fit in the process? Boxing is just one of many new fitness crazes out there, with boutique studios and franchises popping up all over the map. But this isn’t just a trend --this workout is here to stay, and not just because it’s fun. Boxing delivers the results you’d expect from a class that combines cardio and full body strength.
What does that really mean, though? Don’t worry, you’re going to be able to survive a 60-minute class with no problem. Here are just some of the reasons why you are going to love working out when you add boxing to your already active lifestyle.
Cardio is crucial
No matter what you do for exercise, cardio (aka cardiovascular exercises) are essential to your fitness routine. Cardio gets your heart rate up and burns calories fast for weight loss. And it doesn’t mean just the typical running, biking or swimming you might think of --a boxing workout is all about building endurance and using big bursts of energy during cardio exercises.
At the boxing gym ILoveKickboxing, your first 15 minutes of class are dedicated solely to cardio, and that’s before you suit up into your boxing gloves. Once you hit the mat and the punching bag, your stamina must remain persistent to accomplish quick, concise boxing movements that make you burn fat and gain muscle all at once.
Boxing puts the full in full body
You might hear the phrase, “full body workout” when you research different fitness programs or specific exercises online. That buzzword is important to keep in mind when you’re focused on getting a well-rounded workout, AKA something that will save you from ever being teased about skipping leg day.
What makes boxing such a good full body workout is the blend between cardio and resistance training, and the fact that almost all of the movements engage your entire body from head to toe. When you’re doing a jab-cross on the punching bag, you’re engaging your lower body in your stance, working on your foot placement, and tightening up your abs and core to make the movements as precise and powerful as possible.
Kiss the calories goodbye
In a boxing class you are always moving, and with the amount of cardio the instructors can pack into one session, you’re bound to burn calories at a rapid rate, which is especially awesome if one of your fitness goals is to lose weight (and lose it fast).
According to Livestrong and Harvard Health Publications, you can expect to burn between 600-900 calories during a one-hour class if you range between 125 and 185 lbs respectively. That’s double what most people burn during a 3.1 mile run. So, if hitting the pavement isn’t for you, kick off your running sneakers and sink into the squishy mats at a kickboxing gym. (That’s right: some boxing workouts are done barefoot, which is pretty amazing.)
You’ll get stronger
This seems obvious, but strength training is going to make you feel...stronger. Now, that doesn’t mean the workouts will ever get easier, but it’s possible that other routine tasks will.
The struggle of carrying groceries up the stairs or lifting boxes out of the shed could become a thing of the past once you start becoming a regular boxer. You’ll add muscle to your legs and arms over time that’ll make you wanna toss up an Instagram post on #FlexFriday.
Stay on your A-game
At first you might think you’re not quick enough for boxing, but eventually you’ll start to notice you’re becoming more agile and more alert in your daily life thanks to this workout. Boxing improves your hand-eye coordination and is also known to increase your alertness and self-awareness.
During a boxing class, you must practice your stance, which should be at a certain distance from the bag depending on the movement you’re doing. When you’re punching, you need to nail the perfect posture and eye contact with the spot you’re trying to hit with some serious force.
Over time, that practice will translate into your everyday life whether you’re driving, playing catch in the backyard or watching a tennis match and darting your eyes back and forth on the court. Hand-eye coordination is a lifelong skill that you’ll be thankful you worked on during your younger years.
It doesn’t get old
Sure, you can feel like a boxing expert after a few classes, but there’s continuous education with this type of workout that will ensure you never get sick of the same old routine. The more advanced you get, the number of new moves you can unlock, not to mention your instructor might take the basic, core exercises and take them up a notch for you by offering a more challenging movement.
You can always add more reps and increase your speed to continuously improve your endurance and get the most out of your time in the gym. Just be sure to catch your breath and drink lots of water when you’re going, going going.
And bring on the confidence
Yeah, we said boxing is a cardio and strength exercise, but we don’t just mean physical strength. Boxing is an empowering workout for your mind, too --and since fitness professionals have brought this workout to the masses, all of us out there can have our own Rocky moment.
There’s something about wrapping your hands and sliding on a pair of boxing gloves that makes you feel pretty cool, badass even. Once you’ve walked away from 60 minutes of kicking, punching, cardio, strength and resistance training, you’re going to feel so accomplished and with a little less weight on your shoulders from the day’s stresses. You’re focused way too hard on making it through the class than to think about whatever was on your mind before you walked in.