By Emma Stessman
Throwing punches in a boxing workout class is a sure-fire way to get your heart pounding and your muscles feeling all kinds of sore for days to come.
However, the benefits of boxing extend far beyond fitness, according to Bebe Ding. Ding is the co-founder of CruBox, one of Hollywood’s newest boutique cardio-boxing studios. Classes at the studio combine classic boxing techniques with cardio and strength training elements and seriously motivating music to ensure intense (and fun!) sweat sessions that confer both mental and physical benefits. For example, you may find yourself leaving class with a newfound “I can take on anything” attitude.
And yes, you can take on this kind of workout even if you’ve never strapped on a pair of gloves. “It’s really meant for everybody, of all fitness levels,” Ding says.
Curious about how awakening your inner Rocky might provide you with so much more than a killer bod? Ding shares her top reasons to start throwing punches (into a bag, of course), below.
5 Mind-Body Benefits of Boxing Workouts
1. Improved coordination
Ding likes to say that boxing is “a badass type of dance class.” By repeatedly practicing the movements and punch combinations, you’ll begin to feel way more graceful and coordinated––even if you weren’t at all to begin with. “You don’t have to be coordinated to box,” says Ding, “but I think that [boxing] consistently teaches people how to become more coordinated.”
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2. Stronger mental muscles
”In boxing, you have six punches and you have five defense moves. You have to remember the names, you have to be quick, you have to be light on your feet,” Ding explains. “Also, with putting all those combinations together there are all these rules and sequences.” With all the focus and memorization required, your brain ends up getting as much of a workout as your biceps.
3. Increased confidence
There’s something about hitting a bag as hard as you can that makes you feel like you can do, well, anything. “[You] feel like such a bad-ass on the bag,” says Ding. “It definitely boosts their confidence both in and out of the studio.”
4. Stress relief
A good workout almost always leaves you with a smile on your face. (Can you say runner’s high?) But one that gets your endorphins pumping, your body moving, AND allows you to let out pent-up aggression on a literal punching bag is a next level mood-booster. “You really see it in people’s faces––they light up when they’re able to just like go ham on the bag.” Ding says.
5. A sense of empowerment
While boxing can definitely empower individuals of all genders, Ding says women often get an extra boost out of practicing a typically male-dominated sport. “A lot of females that I teach leave feeling like, ‘Wow, that was really good to get all my aggression out on the bag, like, I’ve never hit anything like that before!’” Ding says. In other words, yes, you should absolutely “fight like a girl.”