Regular physical exercise has many mental benefits, and boxing is no exception. Boxing can teach you many things about yourself, and aside from the physical benefits, have a positive influence on your mental wellbeing, too.
Boxing is great for building your self-esteem because it is something new you can learn and improve on. It lets you step out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself. Boxing is the type of sport which allows you to be aware of your positive attributes while also recognising your flaws and shortcomings. It teaches you to use your strengths and work on your weaknesses. Because of the intense workout routine, it also builds muscle and assists in weight loss.
Because boxing is such a focused sport, it helps to train your brain to focus on the task at hand instead of allowing it to drift off and lose focus. It can also help you overcome your fight-or-flight response by teaching your brain to stand ground and fight. Boxing teaches you to be calm and focused in the midst of chaos. It also teaches you to be mentally strong and to keep going when it feels like you will never reach your goal.
Boxing, as an aerobic exercise, is excellent for stress relief. Elevating your heart rate releases hormones like Endorphins and Phenylethylamine, both of which will boost your mood. Boxing also gets you in the “zone” where you leave outside stresses behind and focus on the present.
Our stress usually finds a resting spot in our upper bodies, especially in our shoulders. Boxing can help to strengthen these muscles in addition to assisting with the release of tense and sore shoulder muscles.
Contrary to popular belief, boxing in itself is not a good strategy for anger management. The belief comes from the metaphor of treating the emotion of anger like heated fluid in a container, building up pressure and the need to let off steam. It makes a connection between being angry and aggressive behaviour when in reality they are separate. Behaving aggressively (like boxing) while you are experiencing anger might actually make the anger worse – you will be better off sitting quietly doing breathing exercises until the emotion subsides. Boxing as regular exercise, in addition to working with a mental health professional, will provide the best outcome.
On the side, it is also important to note that boxing isn’t a cure for all your problems – if you struggle to lose weight, suffer from depression or anxiety, or have anger issues, you will need more than just this excellent workout routine. Regular exercise is very important for mental health, but you will also have to address the other issues in your life to allow you to reach your full potential. Take a good look at your diet and the things that contribute to your high stress levels.
That being said – boxing is a great way to get fit and in shape. Challenge yourself and join a boxing gym!