Boxing as a fitness activity enables the average person to aspire to the same athletic skills as Mohammed Ali without being repeatedly smacked in the face! It is also a great way to relieve stress in the run up to exams, so you can walk away feeling as calm as the great man himself, writes Helen Jomoa.

Burn more calories

Boxing is the ultimate High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) workout. It alternates intense activity with periods of active recovery. HIIT workouts tend to burn more calories than traditional ones, especially after you have finished your session.

This post-exercise period is called ‘EPOC’, (excess post exercise oxygen consumption). The vigorous nature of boxing training means that ‘EPOC’ tends to be greater, adding about 6-15% more calories to the overall energy expenditure of the workout.

Manage stress

Feeling stressed? Instead of cranking-up the stress, dial-up the exercise intensity. Let’s face it, it’s incredibly satisfying taking out your frustrations on a punching bag, especially as the bag can’t talk back! The last thing you will be thinking about when you are in the middle of a boxing drill, is how anxious you are, and even during your rest periods you will be focusing on other things, like trying to catch your breath.

Build strong bones

Bones and ligaments may be out-of-sight, but they mustn’t be out-of-mind. Bone strength is built more effectively with short, intense bursts of exercise like boxing rather than slow, low-impact exercise. That is why boxing beats swimming and cycling for improving bone density. Your bones also love resistance training. In boxing this comes from using focus pads and punching bags and by adding body weight exercises to your workout like push-ups. Bone density is also built by incorporating high-impact exercises like skipping. While this mightn’t mean much to you now, higher bone density can help prevent osteoporosis as you get older.

Develop muscular endurance

Boxing requires your muscles to contract repeatedly causing the muscles involved to fatigue. With continued training, your muscles can keep going for longer without getting tired and ultimately burn more calories and improve your fitness and body shape.

Drive cardiovascular fitness

If punching, kicking and jumping doesn’t get your blood pumping, then what will. When you throw punches a huge number of your body’s muscles are recruited at the same time. To sustain the speed and force of your punches your heart and lungs have to work overtime to pump oxygen through your blood stream to keep the muscles going. A boxing workout will make your heart and lungs happy by training them to become more efficient.

The ultimate workout

In addition to gearing up your cardiovascular system, boxing works most of the muscles of your body in some way. A powerful punch starts with the long muscles of the legs, surges through the glute muscles, up through the ‘abs’ and upper body muscles, ending with your fist. Most boxing circuits also incorporate strength training exercises within a fast-paced boxing class. Boom – your full body workout has just been delivered.

Develop coordination

Moving lots of body parts at the same time requires good connection between your brain and your body. Whether you punch a speed bag or your partner’s focus pads, you need to be able to see, hit and react to a moving target. It’s tricky to start with, but with practice your hand-eye coordination and reaction times improve significantly. There is hope for us all!

Give it a go

What’s not to love? It builds fitness, strength, coordination and speed. When you put on those boxing gloves for the first time, you may not feel like a pro but you will certainly look like one. Before long you will be hooked, and then you will know that your inner ‘Mohammed Ali’ has been born.

Keen to knockout semester two?

Sydney Uni Sport & Fitness has a fully equipped Brydens Boxing Gym, free for all Gold and Silver Pass holders. Our personal trainers can also provide boxing based PT sessions. Do it yourself – grab some gloves, punch some bags and try some skipping at Brydens Boxing Gym, or do it with others – try our Kickbox and Aerobox Group Fitness classes.