Many women tend to shy away from boxing due to the fear of bulky arms, monster muscles and getting hit in the face. The truth is, boxing isn’t always about the physical hitting of an opponent, it can be a great form of strength training and stress-relief.
On top of enhancing your physical strength, boxing has plenty of benefits that make it a brilliant all-round exercise choice for women. Shelly Sweeney, Great British Champion boxer and top trainer at boutique boxing gym, TwelveThree shares her top five reasons on why boxing can benefit women.
1. Tighter pelvic floor muscles
From childbirth to age and stress, there are lots of factors that can weaken the pelvic floor muscles. In boxing, you need to use your core strength to generate the force necessary for throwing punches, however, it’s important to note that the core muscles go way beyond the torso. Everything in your body is interconnected and there are muscles that work with your main core muscles as well, such as your diaphragm and pelvic floor. Keeping your abdominal muscles engaged and being aware of your posture while boxing will ultimately activate your pelvic floor muscles.
2. Sculpt your entire body
Boxing is widely considered as the best full-body workout you can do. While it’s your arms that extend for each punch, you are actually driving power from your hips and legs, as well as working your back, shoulders, core and even your brain. It engages the entire upper and lower body, meaning you get a great cardio workout, whie also sculpting and conditioning your entire body. It’s a strength and cardio workout in one, so you are sure to get the most out of your workout time. At TwelveThree, our new BoxCon class combines boxing drills, bag work and pads with a high-octane strength and conditioning circuit to help you tone in all the right places, and is suitable for all women, whatever your goal and fitness ability.
3. You’ll relieve stress like never before
Boxing can decrease the stress hormone cortisol and increase endorphins; your body’s feel-good chemicals, giving your mood a natural boost which, in turn, alleviates stress. Symbolically, you may wish to picture the punching bag as a representative of your own stress or personal situation, allowing you to harness those emotions and use them to gain a positive outcome. Punching also helps to relieve muscle tension that can accumulate over time, enabling you to fully let go and release yourself from any stress you’re experiencing, both mentally and physically. In the same way runners experience the phenomenon of a ‘runners high’, women who take up boxing benefit from a ‘boxers high’, because nothing feels better than hitting a punch bag!
4. Your confidence will soar
Not only does boxing help you build physical strength, it can also make you feel more powerful mentally and give you a fighting spirit, enabling you to feel like you can take on anything. Boxing also allows you to be who you want to be; it’s fast, furious and above all fun, leaving little room in your head for anything else and allowing you to fully switch off from the outside world and express yourself on the bag. There is also a massive endorphins release in the body from hitting a heavy bag or doing pad work with a partner, and those chemicals give you an overwhelming feeling of confidence that you can take with you outside of the ring.
5. Develop discipline
Boxing teaches discipline and persistence; if you want to progress in this sport, you need to push yourself out of your comfort zone and give it everything you’ve got, regardless of how exhausting and hard the exercises are. Between the technical training, mental concentration, toughness and physical conditioning, there is no time for laziness. The discipline that is taught in relation to boxing can be applied to all aspects of your life, and it’s not just necessary to become stronger and faster, it is part of the culture that surrounds the sport.