Can boxing help mental health?
If you’ve been paying attention to health and wellness news over the past few years, being anxious and depressed has become all too common these days. This focus on mental health comes in response to studies showing that we are living in a world of over-stimulation and constant distraction.
Lack of exercise and excessive sensory overload affects our dopamine receptors, prevents us from properly focusing, and contributes to mood disorders like anxiety and depression.
Physical fitness training has long proven to be a wonderful tool for being mentally healthy. Working out requires you to focus on what you’re doing right now. Seeing the positive results can create a major sense of self-accomplishment. Both of which help center you in the present moment.
Training for boxing takes it a step further - here are the ways boxing trains your mind.
1. Boxing Boosts Endorphin Production
Do you ever feel like a million bucks after sweating it out on the elliptical for a bit?
It's not just in your head. Turns out, our body release all sorts of feel-good chemicals like endorphins, serotonin, dopamine, and nor-epinephrine during a workout. These little neurotransmitters work together to help keep our moods in check and make us feel darn good. And if you're really going hard, you might even hit that elusive "runner's high" we've all heard about.
2. Boxing Helps You Release Aggression
Had a long day at work? Feeling overwhelmed with everything? Need to blow off some steam?
While punching a heavy bag won't make your problems disappear, it will distract you and help you let go of some of that pent-up frustration. The intense concentration you need for boxing, plus the rush of energy and dopamine, can all work together to help you cope with those feelings of anger and aggression. If you're feeling stressed or overwhelmed, boxing can be a killer way to take a step back and reset your mental state.
3. Boxing Teaches You Self Awareness
When it comes to training your mind, it's all about getting to know yourself.
You know, figuring out what ticks you off, what your limits are, and where you need to draw the line. Once you've got a handle on all that, you'll be better equipped to handle any stressors that come your way, big or small. That's where the sweet science of boxing comes into play. Boxing can teach you a lot about yourself, from your strengths to your weaknesses. And with a good coach by your side, you can work through any obstacles you're facing and come out even stronger.
If you’re looking to kick-start your boxing efforts, the first thing you need to do is find the right coach.
Look for someone who's as passionate about it as you are and make sure you're both on the same page with your goals. With the right support system in place, you'll be able to start reaping the rewards of boxing right away - and trust us, there are plenty of 'em.
All it takes is a pair of gloves and some determination to get started.
4. Boxing Boosts Your Self-Esteem
When you walk away from any form of exercise, you’ll find that you feel a sense of pride.
Esspecially if it’s something that’s particularly challenging or out of your regular wheelhouse. Training to be a boxer helps you prove to yourself again and again that you can endure physical challenges and overcome obstacles, which equals a major self-esteem boost (whether it be in the ring or on the dreaded assault bike). Being a part of a boxing club also provides you with the social interaction and the feeling of being a part of a community, which contributes to positive feelings of self-worth.
Alongside self-esteem and mental health, boxing also builds your mental toughness. Let’s face it, all boxers feel fear - and take action anyway. This is a key skill you want to have when battling the difficulties of life and challenges in the ring - for a full breakdown on mental toughness, click here.
5. Boxing Is Moving Meditation
Have you heard of "moving meditation?"
In a 2013 research done by Front Psychiatry, they found that “meditative movement” significantly improved individuals mental health and decreased depression and anxiety.
Moving meditation is a way to calm your mind by getting your body moving. And boxing just so happens to be one of the best ways to do it. When you're in the ring, you can't be anywhere else - all your attention is on the movements you're making. It's like you're in your own little bubble, far away from the stresses and distractions of everyday life. After a good workout, you'll come out feeling centered and refreshed, ready to take on whatever comes your way.
6. Boxing Improves Your Concentration
Becoming good at boxing takes a lot of work, and there are many different aspects to consider.
For example, you need to keep honing your combos and footwork if you want to improve your skills. But one area that people sometimes forget about is concentration. Just like any other skill, concentration needs to be practiced if you want to get better at it.
If you set aside an hour or two a few times a week to really focus on your boxing goals, you'll start to see a difference in how well you can concentrate. That's because boxing requires you to zero in on what you're doing and tune out everything else. With enough practice, you'll become a concentration master, able to tackle any task with laser-sharp focus.
Boxing is not just about throwing punches and getting in a good workout.
It's a valuable tool for improving mental health and well-being. As we've seen, the focus, discipline, and mindfulness that boxing requires can all have a powerful impact on our minds, helping to reduce stress and anxiety, improve concentration, and promote self-awareness.
So the next time you step into the ring, remember that you're not just training your body - you're also training your mind. Through hard work and persistence, you will become a stronger, more focused individual both inside and outside of the gym. You will become a warrior.
Want more boxing tips? Check out our full list of articles here.
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