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Have you heard someone say that practicing boxing has transformed their life?

Maybe you’re wondering if you can change your life too.

According to many health experts, Boxing has a wide array of health benefits. These are not just limited to our physical bodies, but also our emotional state.

Boxing has both mental and physical benefits.

Assertiveness and emotional stability, improvement in self-esteem and alleviation of depression and anxiety are a few of the positive impacts.

Boxing helps to create a mindset that’s stable and more balanced. It might be primarily seen as a way to physically defend yourself, but they are effective as a technique to balance the body and mind.

So, why is boxing helpful for mental health? 

1. Alleviate Stress

Winston Churchill once said success isn’t final, and failure isn’t fatal. What counts is the courage to continue.

We are all bombarded with endless challenges with our hectic daily routines, causing us to fall behind deadlines. Constant facing of stress and anxiety can eventually lead to heart problems.

However, you can combat this with boxing training. It includes cardio, which helps people fight the adverse effects of stress and anxiety. Further, most of these training sessions include breathing and meditation sessions, which also help to reduce stress levels.

2. Let Go of Anger

Being kind is important, as everyone you meet is most probably going through a battle that you don’t know about.

Since boxing involves intense aerobic workout, it can help you let go of the built up anger. According to some researchers, boxing combats the negative effects related to anger. If you are not in an ideal state of mind, it is easy to lash out and act without thinking properly.

As mentioned above, boxing include breathing exercises which help with calming our thoughts. This helps you to learn how to deal with your inner self and let go of anger without a reaction.

As you already know, self-control is a key part of boxing training, which is closely related to mindfulness. This training ultimately helps you become more disciplined.

The health professionals from Expect Me emphasise that martial arts make people feel more in control of their emotions. They say:

It’s counterintuitive at the surface level, but martial arts actually help people lead calmer, more self-possessed lives. One of the main reasons why this happens is mindfulness. To excel at martial arts, it is important to pay very close attention to the present moment.

3. Reduce Frustration

Bruce Lee once said, ‘’take things as they are, punch when you have to and kick when you have to.’’

Regardless of how careful you are and the amount of effort you put into something, failure is inevitable. Whether you like it or not, some pressure such as commitments, responsibilities and deadlines will sometimes run behind you.

At some point in life, frustration is bound to occur. Boxing training sessions are a combination of cardio training and muscular workout, both of which are excellent ways to make you relax and let go of frustration.

4. Increase Self-Esteem

Difficulties strengthen your mind, similar to what labour does to the body.

According to Beyond Blue, it’s estimated that 45% of people in Australia will experience a mental health condition in their lifetime. In any one year, around 1 million Australian adults have depression, and over 2 million have anxiety.

If you are having a low moment in life, boxing can actually boost your self-esteem. Most individuals with lower confidence levels experience this on a regular basis, and it really affects their ability to keep up with their everyday activities.

They also become pretty uncomfortable when they have to interact with others, and this ultimately damages their social life, family ties and even personal growth.

Boxing teaches you that it doesn’t matter how many ‘hits’ you take in life – financial, mental, physical or emotional, it’s important to come back stronger and smarter after each blow, and to toughen up for bumps still to come. They teach you how to deal with these situations and build character.

5. Boost Your Focus

Muhammad Ali once said, it is not the mountains ahead that wear you out, but the pebble in your shoe.

We all have numerous sensory distractions that make it hard to concentrate on the tasks at hand. According to various medical journals, extensive physical activity such as boxing training can help reinforce the neural pathway.

Boxing training is designed in a manner that helps you focus on one point, depending on the session. As the session starts, all those distractions go away, and you are left to concentrate on the present moment.

If you do this on a regular basis, your mind will learn to clear your perception as needed, and you will be able to focus on tasks like important work without getting distracted every single minute.

6. Calls For Introspection

Practising boxing can help you fight those inner struggles you go through on a daily basis. Boxing sessions train you to work on your inner energy along with your physique. It has an innate wisdom that after adequate practice, you are certainly going to call for introspection.

This will help you discover any repetitive mistakes you are doing on a regular basis, question yourself on what went wrong, which is an excellent starting point for searching for solutions.

7. Releases The Feel-Good Hormone

Any form of physical training leads to the stimulation of the feel-good hormone, known as dopamine. Since boxing training is a form of intense physical training, you certainly get to enjoy the benefits that this hormone offers.

Endorphins have a subtle effect on one’s emotional state and leave you with positive energy after every session. During the training, the dopamine levels rise, and you ultimately gain a greater persona.

The professionals at Northern Sports and Remedial Myotherapy explain dopamine is important because it helps us focus and feel motivated both physically and mentally. They say:

Dopamine is part of the reward pathway of the brain. When something is interesting or exciting, we feel more motivated to learn and retain information better. That’s why it can help modify behaviour in a positive way, when done correctly.

Boxing, as an intensive physical form of training, isn’t just a discipline, but a complete value system as well. When you stick to the core principles of martial arts, you will become a more humble and respectable person.

This modern age is pushing more and more people to seek mental health support, and most of them prefer natural options rather than medication.

This makes boxing an excellent solution if you are on the same boat. This is the best time to get into boxing if you really yearn for a sound mind and a healthy body.

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Punch Your Way to Inner Peace

The rise of “boxing fitness” has opened up a whole new world of therapeutic possibility.

DEC 02, 20239:00 AM

Illustration by Natalie Matthews-Ramo/Slate

This is an installment of Good Fit, a column about exercise.

When Felicia Alexander was 16 years old, her dad died from a heart attack. The loss was both sad and frightening. “Going to sleep at night without my dad in the house felt really scary,” she remembers. There was the emotional aspect of losing a parent, but also the practical: Their home had been broken into before. Without her dad around, she wanted to feel like she could protect herself and her family.

That’s how Alexander ended up in a no-frills boxing gym in downtown San Diego that was full of buff guys who were serious about the sport. When she walked in, the room fell silent. But that didn’t stop her. “The moment I put on gloves, it felt like an alter ego inside of me had been unleashed,” she says. “I felt like a badass.” Hitting the bag provided a huge sense of catharsis, stress relief, and empowerment.

To access that catharsis, you traditionally had to be willing to step into a gym like the one Alexander stepped into back in the 1990s—straight out of the Rocky movies—with a willingness to get hit in the face. If you didn’t want to get hit, you didn’t box.

That’s changed. In the past couple of decades, with the rise of group fitness classes, “boxing” has expanded to include “boxing fitness:” non-contact boxing (hitting a bag or the air) paired with strength training or core workouts, and no expectation that you’ll ever go up against an opponent. That shift has opened boxing up to just about everyone, “which I think is fantastic,” says boxing instructor Colin Bishop, who teaches at BOUT Boxing in Queens. It allows him to work with both youth and adults who come into the gym wanting all the benefits of boxing without the broken nose or concussion. (I was one of those clients this summer, when I dropped into a BOUT Boxing class on a tour of fitness studios I was doing thanks to a free ClassPass trial.)

Boxing has a reputation for being a good workout, and for good reason. Because the sport is organized around three-minute rounds, boxing fitness classes usually feature several short intervals of high-intensity exercise that get your heart pumping and burn a lot of calories. But instructors and even scientists suggest considering its other benefits: As a great source of stress relief, it has the potential to be an effective mental health intervention, too.

Alexander found the sport so empowering as a teen that she wished she could “bottle up that feeling” and sell it. It took a while, but in her mid-40s, she was able to quit her corporate job and open BoxUnion, which now has three locations in California. She quickly noticed that coaches and clients alike were incredibly open about discussing the challenges they were facing outside the studio with one another. “It felt like there was more than just me that really resonated with this,” she recalls. Since then, the studio has integrated mental health into their philosophy, encouraging coaches to be vulnerable, and clients to see boxing as an outlet.

“So often in the fitness world, you hear people say, ‘Hey, this is your time, I want you to leave everything that’s happening in the world outside the doors and make this hour your own,’ ” she says. “We have the opposite philosophy. We want you to bring everything with you inside the room, and do your best to leave it all on the bag.”

One of the most obvious forms of stress relief that comes with picking up gloves is that you can hit things. Bishop’s clients often tell him at the end of a class: “I really needed that, I had a bad day.” Hitting the bag is a way to release anger and stress in a productive way.

But there may be more to it, suggests Johny Bozdarov, a psychiatrist at the University of Toronto. Having boxed since he was a child, Bozdarov noticed mental health benefits firsthand when dealing with day-to-day stressors. So when he started studying psychiatry, he wondered if boxing had been studied as a therapeutic intervention.

Poking around in the literature, he identified 16 studies that specifically looked at non-contact boxing and mental health. Overall, the studies demonstrated significant improvements in mood, self-esteem, and concentration, as well as reduction of symptoms related to depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Though the studies were mostly low-quality and had small sample sizes (one had only three people), their results were consistent with more beefy analyses that have been done of martial arts and mental health, which found a “significant but small positive effect on wellbeing.”

One of the unique things about boxing for mental health is that it integrates high-intensity aerobic exercise with good old mindfulness. The sport requires a great deal of skill and control, and the three-minute rounds demand full focus. That can be very grounding, especially for a mind prone to wandering. “What’s important in boxing is the grounding techniques that are available in it,” says Bozdarov. “Striking an object keeps you in the moment with technique, whereas if you go running your mind can ruminate a lot.”

Bozdarov sees boxing as an area of untapped potential that warrants more research. He’s created what he calls a mindfulness-based non-contact boxing therapy, which uses boxing alongside more traditional mental health practices. He recently conducted a feasibility study for the intervention at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Canada, and is planning to do a larger clinical trial soon. The hope is that a combination of a workout and therapy in a structured format could improve mental health outcomes while also advancing fitness.

Other boxing programs have paired boxingwith activities like mentoring or meditation. Shape Your Life in Toronto is tailored for people who have experienced trauma. In the U.K., a research project called Empire Fighting Chance combined non-contact boxing and personal development resources in a study looking at the benefits for at-risk young people. Boxing fitness could also be a useful therapy for people with Parkinson’s disease, as a way to manage symptoms. One of those symptoms is gait instability, which leads to frequent falls. Practicing a boxer’s stance—stable and balanced, with hands up by the face—can help reduce risk of falls in those with the neurological disease, according to a 2021 longitudinal study on boxing therapy. Avoiding and recovering from falls is one of the focuses of Rock Steady Boxing, a boxing gym founded with the intention to help people with Parkinson’s. In a large-scale survey of Rock Steady participants in 2020, participants reported less fear of falling, as well as improved social life and a reduction in fatigue, depression, and anxiety, all commonly reported in people with the disease.

But even when it’s not tailored to a particular health condition, boxing encourages behaviors helpful to anyone. In his classes at BOUT Boxing, Bishop intentionally includes a lot of focus on breathwork. He used to have panic attacks that he thinks, looking back, could have been eased with slow, intentional breathing—like the kind of breaths you learn to take during recovery after an intense three-minute round of boxing. He hopes his clients might apply the skills they learn in his classes to real-life situations that cause stress or even panic attacks. That sort of learning could be especially beneficial for men, he points out, who are less likely to seek traditional mental health services.

When I tried boxing for myself, I didn’t know about any of this research, and so I wasn’t expecting too much (my experiment of trying various fitness classes also led me to a “surfing” class on the roof of Margaritaville Resort in Times Square). But indeed, I found in the intense 45-minute session that I had no time to think about all the things I was stressed about. Each round included combinations of punches in a particular order that required concentration. And per Bishop’s philosophy, we focused a lot on breathwork, finding a steady breath and slowing our heart rates after an intense round. I’ve been back to BOUT several times since that first class. After each session I leave the studio feeling exhausted, grounded, and, well, like a bit of a badass.

State of Mind is a partnership of Slate andArizona State University that offers a practical look at our mental health system—and how to make it better.

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B.E.E.M Is included in your active pricing plan (unlimited boxing , 10 day pass etc) , if you dont have an active plan its $15/group session or $50 for 5 sessions.

Boxing Empowerment And Emotional Management (B.E.E.M) is a facilitator-led experiential group. In this group, clients are allowed the opportunity to practice expressing anger in a healthy manner. It offers an opportunity for the facilitator to observe where clients have stored/suppressed emotions in their bodies. Clients learn to identify where they are emotionally “congested” and how to emotionally counterbalance. It is a very physical exercise that enables the “rager” to connect to sadness and vulnerability, and conversely, for the depressed client to tap into the healing energy of healthy anger. This is a VERY powerful group process where clients actually “practice” active release of untapped emotions rather than merely discussing “anger management

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