How boxing improves my mental health

The positive benefits it brings

As proven by many research studies, regular exercise has a profoundly positive impact on our mental health. It decreases symptoms of anxiety and depression, reduces stress and improves sleep quality.

And you do not have to be a fitness fanatic to reap the benefits. Studies show that moderate amounts of exercise make a difference to your general health, regardless of age or fitness level.

I took adult ballet classes for 3 years and I got bored with it after a while. Then I tried other forms of exercise like HIIT, barre, pilates, TRX, Zumba, K-Pop, rowing, and cycling.

In the early of last year, I tried boxing as I always view it as fun and exciting yet challenging. I was hooked to it after the first session and remains my favourite form of exercise to date.

Besides writing and Stoicism, boxing is one of the principal contributors to improving my mental health. Here is how.

Boxing improves my mental focus

A typical boxing workout is more than just throwing random punches on the bag. It requires a lot of coordination because of its limitless combinations of jab, cross, hook, and uppercut.

It requires 100% mental focus. One needs to focus on the boxing stance, the hand-eye coordination, the power and the speed of his /her punches.

During the weekly session, I shut my mind off and leave the stress and worries outside of the workout room. Nothing else matters except me, the instructor, the heart-pounding music, and the heavy bag.

Being able to divert and clear my chaotic mind with this workout helps to improve my focus and gives a better perspective to deal with issues or problems in life.

Boxing boosts my fighting spirit

With each punch, I imagine that I am punching each of my inner demons. This physical move helps in combating my negative thoughts and emotions.

Overall, it naturally brings out the fighting spirit in me to deal with challenges or obstacles in life.

Boxing boosts my self-confidence

Physically, I feel a difference by consistently working out. My punches get harder and faster with each session. I do not tire out easily as compared to previous sessions. This bolsters my confidence with the belief that I can perform better in future sessions.

There is something about punching a bag as hard as I can that makes me feel like I can do well in anything. It gives me that bad-ass feeling that yes, I can achieve anything by working hard and stay focused.

Ultimately, it brings a sense of control and empowerment, that I can defend myself and managing my life.

Boxing is a mood booster and helps in managing my anger and stress

There is no better way to let your steam off by punching a heavy bag. It is a tried and tested method that helps to relieve anxiety, tension, and stress.

Any form of strenuous exercise is a mood booster because of the release of endorphins (also known as the feel-good neurotransmitters). They help to reduce stress significantly. The physical act of punching also helps in reducing physical symptoms of stress like muscle tension.

It feels cathartic whenever I punch hard on the heavy bag. And it is definitely a healthier outlet for me to channel my natural aggression and negative emotions in a safe and controlled environment.

All forms of exercise are good for your physical and mental health. Boxing might not be the thing for everyone, but the therapeutic effect it has on mental health is worth considering.

Personally, boxing has tremendously improved my mental health of late. The adrenaline rush and positive feeling it brings made me feel alive again after going through a period of darkness.

Try boxing. Get a pair of boxing gloves and punch your anxiety and stress away.

First published in Medium

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