Boxing and its benefits

By: Carlos Alberto Quesada Masis

Boxing is a contact sport which originated in Africa. The first evidence of boxers in this area were found ~6000 B.C., but the first boxing matches as we know them today arose in England in 1681.

Despite being a combat sport, boxing also has many benefits:

1) It helps burn calories. Although boxing is not an aerobic workout like running a marathon, it helps us maintain an active metabolism even when we are at rest.  It helps us to tone and maintain our muscles and it helps burn fat. An estimated 300 to 500 calories are burned in about one hour of boxing.

2) It has cardiovascular benefits. Boxing is a high intensity sport and often requires the athlete to react quickly and make fast changes and adjustments. This means that the boxer must stay alert for periods of time, flexing and keeping their muscles active, and then suddenly become relaxed in order to catch their breadth and allow their muscles to relax before using them again. These high intensity and constant muscular changes allow our hearts to become stronger and enable us to acquire great physical conditions.

3) It helps regulate glucose levels. The changes in physical intensity while boxing activates a biochemical metabolic pathway called glycolysis. As its name suggests, the main source of energy for this pathway is glucose; the levels of glucose in our bloodstream are very important while boxing. Glucose is the source of energy that allows our bodies to react to high intensity stimuli, thus, while boxing, this pathway is regulated and may help decrease the risk of high glucose levels in our blood, also known as diabetes.

4) It reduces stress. This sport has a significant neurological component which helps keep our brains occupied on using proper techniques and skills. Because it is common to hit punching bags or other boxers, boxing also helps us relax our muscles and brains, both which help reduce our stress levels.
5) It helps to improve self-esteem. Boxing requires constant effort and practice. This, in turn, helps us set and achieve goals which boosts our self-confidence.

6) It help with self-control. Contrary to common beliefs that boxing begets violence, it actually helps us be in control our bodies during mentally challenging situations which call upon character and discipline. It teaches us to keep the fighting in the ring or with the bag, and not to take it to the streets.

7) It develops proprioception. When we hit the punching bag and practice different techniques, our brains send nerve impulses which allow us to sense our environment, and thus help us master the balance, coordination, pressure, and speed of our bodies in the space around us. When practiced properly, boxing may also help improve joint mobility and muscle flexibility.

8) It helps develop reflexes. This is because we must keep the law of action-reaction to dodge, block, or evade punches.

9) It is a great form of self-defense. Boxing teaches you how and where to throw punches, how to move your body, and provides you with other useful abilities and skills that develop with practice.

10) It promotes competition and the progression of skills. Whether in sports or other aspects of life such as school or work, boxing promotes positive competition and the advancement of your skills. Boxing is highly disciplining and requires a great deal of effort.