Life & Living

Health & Fitness

Boxing Classes

This month we’re talking about boxing-based fitness classes.  There are lots of them around, but what do they actually involve? Are they as scary as they sound? Will  you end up covered in bruises? Keep reading for the run down…

Chantel Heath

INSTAGRAM: @chantelheathfitness

I’m a 41 year old mother of two & Personal Fitness coach. I work one to one, in person & online with clients aged 18-80. My specialisms include pre & postnatal training, cancer rehab, pilates, & GP exercise referrals. I run fitness classes online and in person in the Suffolk Coastal area. I am also a Mental Health First aider.

There are many boxing based fitness classes available, arguably  the most recognisable name in boxing fitness is Boxercise®, which is now over 30 years old. The format was developed by boxing coach Andy Wake, and uses real boxing and kickboxing techniques, adapted to make them safe, appropriate and effective for the everyday person.

There’s no sparring involved, and no ring so you won’t be ‘fighting’ with anyone. Instead the classes use pads and gloves. Usually this will be combined with a range of resistance and cardio exercises to give you a great full-body workout. Expect to be doing things like squats, lunges, shuttle runs, sit-ups etc.

If you’ve not done anything like this before, don’t be surprised to find yourself pretty out of breath! Boxing is a surprisingly good cardio workout! Because of this you can generally expect it to be a fairly high intensity session.

Can anyone do it?

Yes! There are so many excellent benefits to be gained from boxing, it really is great for everyone. If you have specific health conditions you should always discuss these with the class instructor to ensure that any necessary adjustments can be made.

Is it the same thing as BodyCombat® or combat fitness classes?

No. Generally combat style classes tend to be choreographed to music. Think Jane Fonda meets the Karate Kid! You’ll usually stay in one spot, following an instructor and punching and kicking the air in time with the music.

So what are the benefits?

Improve your cardiovascular fitness. It’s a real pulse raiser, so it’s a great way to boost your heart health.

Build endurance and stamina.

You’ll usually work in short bursts or ‘rounds’ for a minute or two at a time, so it’s a good way to start building endurance gradually.

Improve coordination.

There is quite a bit of technique to learn, so you’ll soon be combining your jabs, crosses, hooks and uppercuts, challenging both your physical and mental coordination.

Build confidence.

Landing some good solid punches on the pads feels incredibly empowering, as does being surrounded by a class of supportive people!

Manage and reduce stress and anxiety.

The evidence is clear, exercise of all types is key for mental health, but the action of hitting the pads just seems to add that little something extra when it comes to stress relief!

Improve agility, balance and reaction times.

There is plenty of foot work, pivoting and ducking and diving involved, so your agility and balance will get a workout too.

Build a stronger core.

Believe it or not, your whole body is used to throw each punch (not just your arms), so your core gets a great workout too.

It’s really fun!

In my class the focus is always on a workout that is effective, while being fun! In most of these types of classes you can expect fun fitness games and drills.

Make new friends.

Generally you work in pairs (one holding pads, and one punching), so you get to know the other class members pretty well!

Help with neurological conditions.

Because of many of the benefits listed above, fitness boxing is now widely used to help improve and manage symptoms in people diagnosed with conditions such as Parkinson’s disease.

So for a great workout, with multiple physical and mental health benefits, look no further!