When you think of exercise and health, what are the first things that come to mind? Running? Salad? Yoga? Drinking less beer?

Boxing is not usually one of the first forms of exercise on the list for most people. It’s probably not even the fifth or sixth option down yours. It’s definitely not revered in the work-out world as the go-to exercise kick to get you fighting fit in no time (ironically).

But maybe it’s time you took a little bit more notice of a sport that just so happens to be really good exercise. There are a number of different reasons why you should learn how to box, and no, one of them isn’t so you can practise your self-defence skills on that poor innocent incoherent guy who just tried to get your number. Here’s why you should give boxing a go.

One of the first myths you should dispel about boxing is when you get into the gym to give it a go, not every trainer thinks you’re the next Rocky who’s going to slam the grand title. Most gyms offer both types of boxing – the competitive boxing that belongs in the ring, and the everyday boxing that keeps up fitness for those who are passionate about their physique. Learning to box can be as complicated as becoming world number one, or it can be as simple as an everyday workout that makes you feel like you’ve done yourself one better than just going for a run around the block. Speaking of being fit, you don’t need to be fit to begin your love/hate relationship with boxing – even signing up for regular workouts is surprisingly simple thanks to the resources available in gyms these days.

Learning to box is good for you. Let’s look into that.

Boxing helps relieve stress. This is because boxing is high-intensity, and the more high-intensity the workout is, the more endorphins are going to be released, thus lowering your stress levels to somewhere much more manageable. Boxing also allows for medium-intensity rests between these high-intensity moments, which help your body to bounce back to full intensity without completely slowing down that all important heart rate.

Boxing balances out your body’s composition. It’s the perfect way to decrease that body fat content and turn it into muscle. Because you’re sculpting that sedentary fat into lean muscle, you’re going to have to ignore your weight. Because muscle weighs more than fat. And this isn’t about losing weight. Because it is such a high-intensity workout, boxing burns those calories right up while maintaining and looking after your body’s muscle mass. You want to be a lean mean fighting machine, right? You want to be as fit as one, anyway.

Boxing helps out with your coordination. Having gross and fine motor skills definitely benefits your overall health, and the better they are, the healthier you are. It can mean you have faster reflexes and reaction times which helps in almost all aspects of a healthy, active life, even if sometimes it’s just catching that wine glass that slipped off the bench.

Boxing is cardio, cardio, cardio. But not boring, treadmill, mouse-on-a-wheel, repetitive rowing machine cardio. Boxing is exhilarating, thrilling, unpredictable, use-your-brain-and-your-limbs kind of cardio. And most of us know why cardio is so good for us, right? Because it keeps our hearts in check. And for those of you out there that find counting calories and maintaining a healthy weight more important than a healthy heart, cardio is also really good at keeping all those things in check, too. Check, check.

Probably the biggest difference between boxing in the ring and boxing for the fit of it is: another human. Those of us out there tough enough to take a punch will want to be in line to be in the ring, but for the rest of us out there that would rather keep it about fitness, there is the glorious punching bag, ready to take everything you can give. Boxing to get fit is purely about you, and getting fit.

So give it a go. The only thing you’ll lose is fat.

You can learn boxing here.

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When you think of exercise and health, what are the first things that come to mind? Running? Salad? Yoga? Drinking less beer? Boxing is not usually one of the first forms of exercise on the list for most people. It's probably not even the fifth or sixth option down yours....