In the 1990s, martial arts champion Billy Blanks released a series of videotapes that combined martial arts (Tae-Kwon-Do) with boxing for a unique activity that promised to deliver exceptional health and fitness benefits. Calling his method Tae Bo (pronounced ‘tie-bo’), Blanks punched, kicked, and sparred his way into the living rooms-and the fitness routines-of millions of Americans. Suddenly, boxing was not just a bloody contact sport, it was a fitness activity that brought massive health benefits to its participants.
Although boxing for fitness was hardly a new concept, Tae Bo glamorized it and made it more accessible to the everyday exerciser seeking to introduce a fun and entertaining aspect into their exercise routines. Consequently, many fitness centers today offer boxing classes to their members who seek to achieve peak physical conditioning in a short amount of time. But fitness-boxing routines do more than simply firm the body. Boxing has proven to be an effective way to relieve the tension that results from the stresses of modern society. Click here for more details about the Boxing classes.
Exercise and Stress-Relief
Many studies have shown that physical exercise is an effective stress-reliever. One such study was conducted at the University of Colorado at Boulder in 1999. This 4-part study was designed with the goal of, according to Assistant Professor Monika Fleshner, understanding “how regular, moderate, physical activity alters the stress response by examining the entire system, from the brain to the individual cells.”
To that end, the researchers conducted four separate but related experiments on mice. Each of these experiments yielded convincing proof of the stress-reducing effects of exercise and, by extension, of boxing classes.
For this study, a group of physically active rats (those who maintained a regular routine of wheel-running for 4 weeks) were compared to a group of sedentary rats after being exposed to 90-minutes of stress. In three of these experiments (the fourth one did not concern stress reactions), the physically active rats showed a marked difference in their reactions to stress as compared with the sedentary rats.
– Experiment 1. The physically active rats produced a lower amount of a stress-induced protein.
– Experiment 2. The physically active rats released less norepinephrine (a hormone that is similar to adrenaline).
– Experiment 3. The physically active rats were less likely to suffer the known negative physiological results of stress that include an increase of stress proteins, a suppression of cell division, and a decrease in cytokines (which causes a lowered immune response.)
The results of this and many other studies show that exercise is an effective stress-reliever that causes many physiological changes. Indeed, all it may take to knock out your tension, say experts, is to participate in boxing classes.
The Ideal Exercise
The ideal exercise routine combines aerobic and anaerobic activities, can be performed without undue risk of injury, increases calorie burn, and provides enough variety to avoid boredom. By this standard, boxing classes provide an excellent total workout for the body-and for the mind (via reduced tension and stress).
Boxing has been shown to increase the efficiency of the cardio respiratory and vascular systems, hone the performance of the central nervous system, and strengthen the musculoskeletal system.
Most boxing classes last for 60 minutes and, although the mix of exercises differs for each program (and for each fitness facility), one can expect the class to contain the following components:
Warm Up. This segment at the beginning of the class lasts for 5-10 minutes and is designed to warm the muscles and tendons, preparing them for the more strenuous portion.
Conditioning. The warm up typically transitions into several boxing moves that are designed to condition the body. These exercises provide anaerobic (strength) conditioning together with an aerobic component to increase the heartbeat. The conditioning segment of boxing classes typically lasts for 10 minutes.
Technique. A few new boxing techniques are introduced at each session. In the beginning, these techniques will be simple movements such as punches and jabs. After these are mastered, more complicated (and challenging) combinations of boxing movements will be added to the program. The training in each specific boxing technique lasts for approximately 5 minutes.
Hitting Drills. The prime focus of most boxing classes are the “hitting drills” which revolve around a timed series of punching and kickboxing of stationary objects such as heavy bags. The objects to be hit will be positioned as part of a circuit that the “boxer” will hit or kick (employing proper boxing technique) for approximately two to three minutes. Between each station, the boxer will rest for 1 minute before going to the next station for a continued two to three minutes of punching and kicking. (There may also be standard exercise machines within the circuit to provide a more complete workout.) This routine continues until the boxer has worked all stations in the circuit. This part of the boxing class, which lasts for approximately 35 minutes generally leaves the participants feeling energized and refreshed.
Cool Down. This last part of the class focuses upon gradually slowing the heart rate while practicing gentle stretching exercises that will help to prevent or reduce later onset of muscle soreness and joint stiffness.Read More