The Top 5 Benefits of Cardio Boxing
Cardio boxing is taking the wellness industry by storm and bringing what is normally thought of as a gritty, tough guy sport and making the workout inviting and readily available to all fitness levels. ESPN did a study on the 60 hardest sports. With a list of 10 different categories and 8 panelists, boxing came out as the hardest sport. The reason boxing was on top is because the questions were not only based on athletic skill but also around agility, nerve or gut required, and hand-eye coordination.
That doesn’t mean we all need to go out and get hit in the face to reap the benefits. Cardio boxing provides the opportunity for everyday athletes to receive benefits without the pain of someone hitting back.
There are so many reasons cardio boxing should be a part of your fitness routine, but we have narrowed it down to our top five.
1. Total-body workout
Some workout plans focus on each specific area of the body each week requiring you to always be working out. With cardio boxing you are getting a total-body workout every time! Let’s break this down by analyzing the muscles involved in throwing a punch. Boxing engages your lower body as it requires you to stand at a 45-degree angle from where you are aiming your punch. Your stances require your knees to be slightly bent and/or in a loaded position thereby engaging your glutes, quadriceps and hamstrings. Moving up the body, your core is engaged as you rotate through your torso while you throw each punch thereby activating your abs, core and back. Then there is the obvious – your arms and shoulders will of course be engaged throughout the entire workout.
In a normal cardio boxing class, you will throw hundreds of punches in 30-45 minutes leaving your entire body exhausted and sweaty. In addition, your heart rate will be in its cardio zone helping you increase your endurance levels.
I recently took a shadowbox class on BoxUnion Digital and while I was only punching the air I felt sore for three days after the class. I felt it in my upper body (shoulders, back, and arms), the sides of my core and my glutes! The class also incorporated squats, push-ups, mountain climbers, and entailed a dedicated abs section! My body felt strong, powerful and you better believe I was sweating in just a quick 45-minute workout. Now add in any type of equipment, resistance bands, weights or a standing heavy weight bag and you have really leveled up an already tough workout.
To get a little taste, check out our 5 minute “How to Box” video on hooks.
2. Balance and coordination
You may not think that this is that beneficial, but the reality is, we are all going to get older one day and building up your balance and hand-eye coordination will help you keep your fine motor skills in tact as you age.
With a constant change in position in your boxing stance you are able to challenge your balance and reaction time. A tip I learned from one of the BoxUnion Coaches, “with each punch sent out it should be pulled back to its defensive position twice as fast.” With a fast reaction time you may be able to prevent injuries as you are able to adjust quicker. It could be as simple as stepping up onto a curb to as difficult as missing a punch being thrown at you. Now add in the hand-eye coordination required to have proper footwork and distance with each punch, and you can improve alertness and attentiveness. Like I said, we are all aging. Cardio boxing will not only help your immediate fitness level and mood, but it can also help prevent injuries or restrictions with movement down the road.
With any form of exercise, you will release tension and stress as your body increases its endorphins which will inadvertently help boost your mood and improve your mental health. But sometimes we need more than a walk or a 10-minute ab workout to really feel that stress release.
With cardio boxing, you are not only putting yourself through a high intensity workout, but you are engaging your mind. Many people describe boxing as a moving meditation. Meditation in any form can help reduce stress, improve your sleep and increase your energy and focus (LINK TO PREVIOUS ARTICLE). Let’s not forget that there is just something super cathartic and empowering that comes from punching it out.
4. Change in body composition (weight loss/tone & sculpt)
Everyone’s fitness goals are different. Even though workouts aren’t necessarily a one size fits all model, cardio boxing gives you a total-body workout. Using both physical and mental strength you can change your mind and body composition to get it where you want to be to reach your goals and feel good about your body.
Cardio boxing combines strength training and endurance cardio in each class. Using intervals of speed and explosion you can get your intense workout while maxing out your reps. By doing this you can lose weight or tone and sculpt your body with each workout.
5. It’s fun!
A lot of different workouts have become part of my routine, but don’t actually get me excited to workout – I just know it’s good for me. With boxing it’s actually fun, it’s empowering, and you feel like a bad a** doing it. Whether you are just learning how to punch, or you have been boxing for years you can enjoy learning and growing with every punch you throw. If you are going to workout you might as well have fun while doing it, right?!
Start with body weight exercises, tutorials and the basics. I actually plan on purchasing a standing bag at home to not only increase the intensity of my workouts, but to really enhance that meditative and cathartic feeling of punching it out.