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.Physical Activity -  Woman BoxingBoxing, 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

Burns Calories. Boxing burns calories, and kick starts your metabolism and aids in weight loss. The heavier you are the more calories you will burn in a boxing workout but a good average is 250 – 500 calories per half-hour depending on the intensity.

Builds a stronger heart. Regular boxing helps to maintain a balanced heart rate. It also helps to improve the strength of heart muscles, building a stronger heart.

Builds strong bones and muscles. Boxing improves the strength and flexibility of all muscle groups in the body. It also helps to develop joints and overall skeletal system.

Strengthens the entire body. Because boxing involves sparring, bouncing, ducking, pivoting, punching (and even kicking), it requires repetitive motions of your entire body. These repeated movements provide strength and power to your arms, legs and core area.

Improves Endurance. Boxing is an active sport and as you get fit you can maintain higher levels of activity.

Increases Flexibility, Agility, Balance and Coordination. Repeated ducking, pivoting and punching movements increase joint flexibility and agility. As you improve your boxing skills you will develop better balance and coordination and improved reflexes.

Help to relieve stress. Boxing helps to relieve physical and mental stress. Research shows that people who box regularly are more cheerful, getting rid of stress and tension with every punch!

Develop self-defense skills. Boxing can teach you countless combinations of kicks and punches. If you ever find yourself in a dangerous situation and can’t RUN this might aid in your self-defense.

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.