Have you ever wanted to try something new, but you think you’re too old? Yeah, me too. But you know what? Your brain likes to lie about your age being a barrier, so I’m going to tell you of a time that I went for it, and why you should too.
I read an article a while back that stated the top US fitness trend in 2021 was boxing. As a master’s athlete that’s never stepped foot into a boxing gym, I decided to see what the hype was all about. So I grabbed my gym bestie, Jaime, and we headed on down to The Title Boxing Club Reno Southtown for a free class. Check them out here: https://www.facebook.com/tbcreno/
First Things First
Being asked to pick from a variety of colorful and fun hand wraps, I picked the black ones with bright yellow pineapples all over them because pineapples are the sign of “welcome” in Hawaii.
Right out of the gate I knew it was going to be a challenge because just figuring out how to put on the hand wraps was nearly its own workout. Over, under, around…nope. Start over. Pinky, palm, around the hand, and finally, we were wrapped and ready. We had no expectations and no clue what we were doing, but the instructors were fabulous and helped us with each step.
How It Went
We got warmed up with a light jog around the inside of the gym, looping the punching bags that were staring us down as if challenging us to a match.
After the warm up, we got to work learning about jabs, cuts, and combos, and how important rhythm and timing is. And once you get into the rhythm of it, it’s actually really fun! The instructor had a unique way of making sure we protected ourselves by whacking us upside the head with a pool noodle if we forgot to use our hands to protect our head.
After the boxing session was over, we finished with some ab work, rolled up our hand wraps and called it good. My biggest surprise was how much cardio it entailed, and how much of an endurance sport it is. Another surprise was how sore my forearms were in the days following. I assume that may be from holding my fists so tightly.
So would we go again? Most definitely. Not only was it a good time and gave us a good cardio workout, I have since learned of other benefits to boxing that make it an appealing addition to my arsenal of workouts.
One of the biggest components of any workout is stress relief, and boxing is no different. Getting to go all out on a punching bag while in a controlled environment will release a heap of endorphins that will cause you to ride the high the rest of the day. If there’s one thing my mid-life self needs, it’s good stress relief outlets and boxing allows for that release of tension in a healthy way.
Increased Bone Density
When I was younger, the thought of my bone density never crossed my mind. That was a conversation for old people. Now? Well, let’s just say that it’s become much more important to me as I’ve reached middle age. It might seem odd that something like boxing can improve your bone density, but the force you put forth when hitting the bag helps strengthen your bones, which increases your bone density. In fact, all resistance training will help increase bone density but boxing has an even greater advantage. There is an impact force that happens when you hit the bag that transmits the power of that impact through your bones, and that impact triggers an increase in bone density. Want strong bones? Take up boxing!
Great Upper Body Workout
I think it goes without saying that boxing is an incredible upper body workout. Aging really takes a toll on our strength, especially our upper body strength. Boxing requires your entire upper body to engage, especially your core, arms, and shoulders. It requires both type 1 and type 2 muscle fibers of your shoulders to engage (slow twitch and fast twitch muscle fibers), due to your shoulders needing to hold your arms in an elevated position (slow twitch) as well as firing quickly and explosively to land the punch (fast twitch).
Boxing is often thought of as an arm workout, but if done correctly, your abs and core are utilized just as much if not more. To generate the speed and power necessary to land a good punch, it requires trunk and hip rotation and that means your abs and obliques must engage.
Helps Individuals With Parkinson’s Disease
Boxing has been found to have a positive impact on those with Parkinsons. Because of the nature of boxing and its intensity, combining that with the strategy and technique necessary to jab, hook and duck, it stimulates cognitive function and neuroplasticity. In layman's terms, it essentially helps the brain to rewire itself. It requires an immense amount of hand-eye coordination along with keeping your feet steady on the floor - both which help tremendously in Parkinson’s patients.
So What’s the Consensus?
After giving it a go, and after learning all of the positive benefits, I would highly recommend anyone, regardless of age, to give boxing a try at least once. You may try it and decide it’s not for you, or you may try it and absolutely love it! But not trying it at all means you’ll never know. As with all types of exercise, make sure to consult with your doctor if you have any issues that might make boxing a bad choice for you.Want to learn more about Masters Boxing? Check out USA Masters Boxing