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How Boxing Can Improve Your Mental Health

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It’s no secret that regular exercise has a positive effect on how we feel, and boxing is a prime example. From enhancing cardiovascular health and improving hand-eye coordination to developing body strength, boxing is a full-body workout. But while the physical benefits are well known, there’s an increased focus on how boxing can also aid our mental health.


Reduces stress

Many studies have established a link between physical activity and lowering stress levels, and boxing is no different. When you’re working out with a punching bag, your brain produces a rush of endorphins, which is a natural mood booster. The muscle tension that builds when you’re stressed is also relieved with each punch you throw. It’s a controlled environment to release any frustration, stress and anger, and provides a great source of distraction from thoughts or worries.


Builds confidence and self-esteem

Although having low self-esteem isn't a mental health problem in itself, it can lead to mental health problems over time. Boxing helps to make you feel more mentally powerful, as well as providing you with the fighting spirit needed to deal with life's more challenging situations. You’ll become more aware of your faults and mistakes as you train, and your positive qualities and abilities too.


Encourages mental fortitude

Boxing is as much about being mentally strong as it is about physical strength. Mental strength comes from overcoming resistance and adversity, and boxing will help you find resistance in your opponent, fitness level and learning process. The more you spar, the more you will train your brain to stand and fight, instead of retreating. As you learn how to take a punch and continue to fight, you’re essentially training your mind and body to persist.


Boosts motivation

One of the best things about boxing is that you won’t often be exercising alone. Whether you’re sparring with someone or working on the pads in pairs, boxing means you’re regularly training with others. Working out in a group rather than exercising solo can boost motivation, as well as reduce feelings of loneliness and help you to make new friends in a sociable and supportive setting.

Helps you to understand yourself

Boxing is a great way to really get to know yourself. By developing your unique boxing style, you’ll begin to understand more about how your brain works and reacts. The strategic aspect of boxing takes a lot of concentration, practice and perseverance, but once you’ve mastered the skill, it can aid everything from your balance to improved coordination. Ideal for those with both physical and mental health concerns, boxing highlights the direct relationship between the two and how improvements in one can have positive effects on the other.

Treats depression and anxiety

Not only is it essential for maintaining good mental health, but boxing can be used to treat chronic mental illness too. Boxing can reduce the likelihood of depression and maintain mental health as we age. Used as a treatment for dementia, mild to moderate depression or anxiety, boxing can be as good as existing pharmacological interventions. Exercise directly affects the brain, by improving neuronal health with a delivery of oxygen and nutrients. Preliminary evidence also suggests that exercise can lead to the creation of new hippocampal neurons, which is an area of the brain involved in memory, learning and buffering stress. The hippocampus is highly important for our mental health.

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