It’s understandable if you, while researching general fitness, question whether something like martial arts or boxing is really for you. You’re not a combative person by nature, and you don’t plan on being a prizefighter. So, while these are good ways to get into better shape, will the combat aspect of this actually serve you?
Boxers are some hellacious athletes, to say the least, and boxing is absolutely not an easy sport to master. There’s a heck of a lot more to it than just punching and enduring punches. I’ll get to that in a moment.
My biggest reason for being reluctant here is that one of the significant benefits of boxing (but far from the only benefit) is what it can do for self-defense. Now, I’m not saying self-defense isn’t a good skill to have. I honestly think everyone should take at least basic self-defense classes because sadly, humanity is an unpredictable thing. You never know when you won’t run afoul of someone who thinks they have something to prove. This situation can happen to anyone anywhere, and you should be ready.
No, I’m all for self-defense, which boxing is excellent for honing, but that’s not usually within the domain of what we discuss here. Around here, we’re focused on fitness and healthy living, and we tend to leave self-defense and combat to the people who’re all about that. There are a lot of excellent blogs and websites dedicated to the concept, mostly written by people who are absolute masters of these topics.
However, sometimes, fitness and self-defense training do overlap. To be able to properly defend yourself, be in good shape, and have some good strength and discipline is an excellent idea (almost a must). Conversely, since you need to be in decent shape to optimally defend yourself, you’re going to achieve that shape by training for such defensive and offensive arts. Thus, we land at boxing, and most specifically here, cardio boxing.
Cardio boxing can be an excellent, and I do mean excellent, way to achieve a higher level of fitness. It’s not the only thing you should do. You need to lift; you need to stretch; you need to eat right and mind your nutrition as well. However, cardio boxing can be a truly excellent supplement to your overall regime, no question.
First, a couple of quick caveats. While any boxing instructor worth their salt will make sure you’re healthy enough for this, we’re going to touch on general health as well. If you have severe heart or joint problems, this is not for you. If you have skeletal issues that result in you being more readily susceptible to fractures or other bone injuries, boxing isn’t a good idea either.
As with any major physical decision, consult your physician and your resident fitness expert before taking on something like this. Being taught by pain and experience may build character, but it can break your body in less than constructive ways!
To fully appreciate how boxing can be an excellent fitness aid, let’s understand the sport a little bit. Now, mind you, this isn’t coming from a pro boxer, so we won’t get super technical here.
I mentioned a moment ago that there’s a lot more to boxing than just enduring punches, and punching back. Yes, that’s a part of it, but there’s a broader game at play with this, just like with martial arts competitions or fencing.
A professional boxer doesn’t just have to have ace reflexes and a mean swing; they also have to be light on their feet, balanced and focused. Boxers bounce on their feet; they shift around; they kind of orbit one another in a match. It’s not like rock’em sock’em robots if you actually watch a match.
Training to be a boxer will require you to have a strong core, endurance to keep moving, focus, and body control. You will also need the ability to be ready to move at a second’s notice to block, dodge, or parry with your own strikes. Every muscle in your body has to be appropriately tuned to be a capable boxer, and your mind has to be sharp and focused as well.
Following that endurance idea, this is an obstacle for fitness that often ends a lot of journeys to a healthier life. We can be as goal-focused as we want, but if we lack the endurance to keep pushing ourselves, we won’t reach our ultimate goals. Cardio boxing puts a big focus on endurance, working to maintain rhythms and constant motion, never really slowing down.
Since we’re being wailed on by an opponent, it also helps sharpen our resolve and our staying power when we’re in pain. Exercise is painful to an extent if it’s doing its job correctly.
Given how I described boxing, the cardio nature of it should be pretty obvious. You’re always moving, with quick, controlled bursts, which is what cardio is all about. But, what does cardio do for us aside from strengthening our heart?
Well, cardio is the sweatiest exercise you can get, right? Your body temperature escalates a lot; you’re feeling that burn. This is when your body’s burning fuel – the calories you’ve eaten, the body fat still on you. It’s also delivering more oxygen to your body by the increased blood flow, and allowing you to metabolize your protein and supplements better.
It won’t build muscle (very much), but it’s a crucial companion to muscle building by properly revving up your body.
Cardio boxing is an excellent way to achieve this endurance training, this well-rounded workout, while also learning a valuable self-defense skill. It also allows you to enjoy the comradery of other people in a friendly, competitive atmosphere.
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