by James Richardson
Vertex Education Ambassador, Fitness
Intro by Brian Callanan
There are countless sports and activities that are gaining popularity to the general public, one of which includes boxing. With origins early in the history of human existence, boxing has been recognized as the earliest form of one-on-one competition that first appeared as a formal Olympic event in the 23rd Olympiad (688 bce). However, the sport of fighting and continuing to get up from being knocked down is one that people with cystic fibrosis (CF) have innately embodied just to survive.
Life with CF is a fight that does not quit. It is a tenacious opponent that will take advantage of any weakness, distraction or opportunity that is allowed by the person living with the disease. CF is a genetic condition that primarily attacks the lungs and digestive systems of the body, but also can have complications with multiple organs including the pancreas, liver, kidneys and hormonal systems including endocrine (CF related diabetes) and reproductive systems. At times a problem can come out of nowhere, knocking one off their feet like a surprise, uppercut, jab or sucker punch.
Exercise in general holds many benefits for anyone, with or without a chronic disease, and is a powerful tool in fighting the everyday challenges of disease management. Below are some of the benefits that are crucial to living a fit and strong lifestyle in striving for optimal health.
The Benefits of a Boxing on Your Body
- Boost Cardiovascular Health: Boxing improves your cardiovascular fitness, which in turn reduces your risks for cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and other chronic conditions.
- Build Muscle and Strength All Over: Strength training is often incorporated in boxing fitness. Many boxing classes include intervals of strength work alternating with punching a bag and other technical moves. Even when boxing workouts do not include specific resistance moves, they boost full-body strength.
- Develop Endurance: A boxing workout is not easy. It is an intense experience. No matter what your skill or fitness level is, a good boxing session should put you through the ringer and be very challenging. Many people inherently enjoy this, but it’s also good for your fitness because it builds stamina and improves endurance.
- Support Healthy Weight: Any kind of fitness routine can be an excellent way to aid weight loss or the maintenance of a healthy weight. However, boxing is proven to beat out other types of exercise for burning calories efficiently.
- Improve Balance and Coordination: The agility component of boxing is great for balance, while punching improves hand-eye coordination. Even without core-specific movements during the strength-training portion of the workout, boxing builds these muscles.
- Stay Interested in Fitness: Boxing is fun. When the only thing hit is a bag and there are minimal safety risks, anyone can do it and most enjoy it.
The Benefits of a Boxing Workout are Mental, Too
- Reduce stress and other negative emotions
- Find emotional release in a safe environment
- Lift a bad mood after a rough day
- Sleep better at night after an intense workout
- Get self-confidence from meeting a challenge and getting stronger
Ready to Get Started?
In my opinion the best way to get started boxing is to hire a boxing coach to teach you the basic techniques, such as footwork balance. Most local gyms also offer a boxing cardio class which is great for those who just want a great cardio workout. If your interest grows, research boxing gyms in your area to sign up for classes, whether for various fitness, strength and speed training or for more boxing oriented classes that introduce basic boxing techniques. This environment helps get you introduced to and familiar with equipment such as hand wraps and gloves, heavy bags, speed bags, punching pads and/or jump rope.
But the most important action is making the decision to step into the ring, know your fight, and commit to giving your all no matter the level of intensity.
Miles for Cystic Fibrosis is developing “Knock Out CF” events around the country to support people living the fight against the disease. Please watch the Events webpage for more information on locations, or Contact Us about setting up an event near you.