Most likely, your main exercise goals are to burn calories and build muscle—but some activities offer the added perks of busting stress and boosting your mood.
As it turns out, Rocky was onto something. Boxing is not only an excellent form of cardio, but it's also a healthy outlet for stress, anxiety and aggression, that leaves you feeling exhilarated and empowered.
"While a long, sweaty run outside on a beautiful day is always a good go-to, there’s something so gratifying about making physical contact with something and letting it all go," says Rob Delara, corporate head trainer at TITLE Boxing Club. "The stress of your job, home and life in general is left on the bag with every jab, cross, hook and uppercut. Throw your punches and throw away your worries."
Most fitness boxing classes consist of three segments: a 15-minute warmup with calisthenics drills (jumping jacks, squats, lunges, etc.), eight 3-minute rounds of punching combinations with one minute of active rest in between and 15 minutes of core work.
Delara says this safe, dynamic workout offers a bevy of mental and physical benefits that go well beyond weight loss.
Fitness boxing classes aren't just for experienced boxers or elite athletes. People of all ages, sizes and skill levels can jump right in and start throwing punches. Before you go, take a crash course with our cheat sheet.
- Stronger core: "When you throw a proper punch or power into a kick, your entire core is engaged. You’re moving and twisting through the abdominals to fire strong, precise blows one after the other, meaning your midsection gets a serious workout," says Delara.
- Speed and agility: As you move around the bag and perform combinations of punches, you'll notice improved reactive motions, hand-eye coordination, balance and agility.
- Muscle tone: For some people, being toned and strong is more important than increasing muscle size. Delara says boxing is one of the best ways to get long and lean arms and legs because the sport targets your back, shoulders, arms, core, glutes, quads and calves while using your own bodyweight.
- Cardiovascular health: Thanks to boxing for fitness, the days of boring cardio are over. "Boxing classes safely increase your heart rate and burn calories steadily for optimal cardiovascular health benefits," says Delara. "Because of the intensity of the class and the need to pay attention to the trainer shouting combinations, the rounds fly by, and before you know it, the hour is done and you feel amazing."
- Mental strength: In addition to the physical perks, Delara says that boxing also conditions you to be mentally strong. "Resistance is something we all face—both in learning something new and in our own fitness level—but this intense workout trains you to stay calm and focused on your goal," he says.