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Boxing isn’t just for tough guys any more. Boxing is one of the most popular fitness regimes around that helps you produce a lean, toned, strong body.
Boxing, in one form or another, has probably existed since man first fought over food or territory. Historical evidence shows that boxing was prevalent in North Africa in 4000 BC and was also popular in ancient Greece and Rome.
Although boxing is a competitive sport at both amateur and professional levels, you don’t have to compete to enjoy boxing or its many health benefits. According to Khadi Madama, Martial Artist and health and fitness consultant, “Boxing is the best cardio workout available.”
Boxing hit the mainstream in physical fitness training in the past decade as people have seen the benefits of boxing workouts. Cardio boxing (and kickboxing) classes and the variations of the sparring jabs, power punches, defense and footwork contains elements of all aerobics exercises.
You can find boxing classes everywhere and they are a good way to learn. A teacher will instruct you in proper technique which is important to avoiding injuries and getting the most out of your workout. A typical class will start with a 10-minute warm-up, followed by about half an hour of boxing and finishing with a 10-minute warm-down.
There are three main moves to employ: hooks ("side" punches), jabs (straight forward punches) and upper-cuts (punches going upwards).
Your instructor will tell you which combinations to execute and you’ll concentrate on pad work and sparring with a partner. This means you face opposite someone and throw combination punches at them which they block with padded gloves (no one gets hurt). Then you swap and block their punches. It’s a lot of FUN.
Benefits of Boxing
Builds a stronger heart
Builds strong bones and muscles
Strengthens the entire body
Increases Flexibility, Agility, Balance and Coordination
Help to relieve stress
Develop self-defense skills
Act as an outlet for anger
Boxing provides an appropriate outlet to release pent up anger. When you punch during boxing, you can channel anger and frustration without disrupting your personal life.
Is Boxing for You?
Picking up the rudimentary boxing skills isn’t all that difficult. Boxing is all about technique so once you pick up the moves you should be fine.
"I’ve never come across anyone who can't box", says Paul Van Wyk, Group Personal Training Instructor. "It's easy to modify the exercise to suit you so every one of all ages and fitness levels can participate."
It's not just a sport for men; women actually pick up the combinations faster than men and have more flexibility through their mid-section. "The rotation of the back is where all the strength comes from for a punch, not the arms", says Van Wyk.
If you're not particularly fit then that's not a huge problem. Boxing is actually easier for a lot of people than running, especially for those with excess weight.
Classes start between $15- $20 and most gyms offer deals if you pay for multiple classes up front. Most gyms provide gloves though, if you get serious, you may want to purchase your own. Wear suitable exercise clothing and athletic shoes and be sure to remove your jewelry before class. Bring a small towel and bottle of water.
Of course, if you are person with diabetes don’t forget your testing supplies and medications and be sure to test before and after your workout.
And Always seek your doctor's guidance before beginning any new exercise regime.
Updated April 26, 2011
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