Discover the 4 key health benefits of the noble art.
In recent years, Boxing has made the great leap from neighbourhood
shadows to boutique-gym spotlights. More and more popular with women, the Noble Art is evolving – as practiced sparring on a ring or as pure cardio, and even in parks.
With a raised guard and a bold look, women put on gloves to let off
steam, tone-up or work on their mental state. Why has boxing become a ‘must’ for them? Barbara, founder of The Knockout Paris, tells us why she got hooked on Boxing, and why you might too!
“I first started boxing in my early twenties, and I wasn’t in a great place in terms of mental health. But in my first boxing class, I instantly knew I’d have to step-up and get outside my comfort zone. It was exactly what I needed at that time: big motivation, mutual support and a crew pushing each
other both mentally and physically.”
Boxing teaches self-mastery, emotional control, and concentration.
After a few sessions, you will notice mindset improvements: you will better exploit your strengths, better understand your weaknesses, and learn to analyse your opponents. Step by step. In boxing, mindset is just as important as fitness.
“I simply cannot overstate the power of determination over physical abilities. Showing
up fully gives me huge pride every time.”
“Boxing taught me the right behaviours to adopt if someone becomes aggressive towards me. I never expected it to turn me into a street fighter. But now I’m stronger on my feet, more agile, and confident in my ability to handle dodgy situations.”
Above all, you should learn how to move and stay safe. Self-defence is
mostly about keeping an opponent at a distance. After several sessions, you will be stronger on your feet while improving agility in your movements -- several techniques including front-kicks (hitting the lower abdomen) can help you
surprise an aggressor, giving you time to leave.
“The style I practice is Thai boxing, which uses fists, but also
feet, knees, elbows… Most people expect a punch, but with my Thai boxing training, I find it more comfortable to keep people at bay with kicks.”
Practicing blocks and dodges will teach you to avoid blows and to
identify when to act if possible. Combat sports will help you to decode an opponent's behaviour and anticipate their movements.
Boxing is a complete sport that allows you to work all parts of the body in depth. Movement repetitions, high intensity, punching power, stamina... your heart rate will quickly increase.
“Before boxing, I played basketball 6 to 8 hours a week at a serious
level for about twelve years. But still, the first boxing trainings felt to me like I had never done any sport in my life. It was super intense, very cardio and the kicks required so much energy! Still today, with boxing trainings being
so varied, from cardio to strength, I can never rest on my laurels.”
A 45-minute training session burns between 400 and 700 calories, so if
you are not a fan of cycling or running, boxing can also be the foundation of a weight-loss program, avoiding the repetitiveness of typical cardio exercises. And contrary to popular belief, it is very unlikely that you will become “too muscular” practicing boxing. Yes, your muscles will tone, which is a great benefit for women. But keep in mind that pro boxers develop muscular physique
on purpose with separate heavy sessions of strength training. You don’t need to do that if it’s not what you’re after.
Boxing is one of the top 10 sports that are good for your heart, according to Dr. Laurent Uzan, sports cardiologist at the Institut Cœur Effort Santé (ICES). After a few weeks of training, you will notice a marked improvement in your cardio
capacity, and in your breathing. But before your first sessions, it’s a good idea to have a snack at least 1 hour ahead, to take it slow and to rehydrate well after training.
“Don’t make my mistake drinking gallons and eating right before my first training, you won’t like it if you get punched in the abs!”
In addition to the cardio aspect, boxing has many other benefits: improved sleep quality as intense training will help you eliminate toxins and secrete endorphins; alleviating premenstrual syndromes, stress and abdominal cramps; relieving pressure and stress, especially if you've had the chance to throw a few good punches!
“Boxing is my stress reliever number one. Punching is a fantastic way to let go of the day… and the one thing you can’t do when sparring is to think about anything but what’s right in front of you. One key point I underestimated was flexibility. Practicing Thai boxing requires good leg flexibility and calls for lots of stretching, which has benefited my overall mobility. Every part of my body has improved.”
The best way to test these 4 benefits is to get started. Many clubs offer trial sessions. It's up to you to try several clubs and boxing styles. Each has its own methods, community, and vibe.