Published November 4, 2022

Get Solid Cardio and Look Good While Doing It by Boxing

6 Min Read

Boxing, the Mental and Physical Cardio Workout

Boxing is much more than just a popular sport. Boxing provides a comprehensive, full-body workout for men and women, children and adults—without even having to face actual opponents. In addition to offering excellent cardio, boxing tones your muscles, builds your core, sheds extra pounds, and provides an outlet for letting off steam. It’s an exercise suited perfectly for classes but one you can do on your own, pretty much anywhere. Whether you want to develop self-defense skills or just find a fun way to exercise, you’ll find an array of benefits when you jump into the ring.

First of all, most anyone can be successful at boxing. There is no perfect body type, height nor weight. It doesn’t even have to be dangerous all the time. In fact, even people involved in competitive boxing spend most of their time training—shadowboxing against imaginary opponents and working with punching bags.

Around the world, gyms and athletics programs have developed boxing and kickboxing classes that promote the best components of the sport, as well as teaching the value of safety. Boxing has become common as an everyday workout for everyone, as well as a popular youth sport and exercise. 

Picture the great boxers, the graceful movement of their dance, the strategic lefts, rights, and one-two punches they choose to outsmart opponents. Compare that to a dull run around a track or the mundane calisthenics taught in schools, and you’ll see that boxing can be more than a basic workout.


Boxing provides a thorough cardio workout. It gets your heart pumping and your lungs working hard. In boxing, you’re constantly moving both your arms and often both your legs—great boxers are known for their dance as well as their punches. No one could dodge and dance around an opponent like Muhammad Ali.

Doctors recommend getting at least twenty minutes of cardiovascular exercise five days per week and learning how to box will give you that and more. Getting into boxing will definitely boost your cardiovascular endurance and help protect you from high blood pressure, stroke, and heart attacks. 

Boxing’s a HIIT

Many boxing routines are forms of high-intensity interval training (HIIT), where you’re alternating between short periods of high-intensity and low-intensity workout. While boxing, you’re in an aerobic state for one-third of the time and in an anaerobic state for two-thirds. This sort of interval training allows you to continually build speed and burn off calories faster.


Most people don’t realize it, but boxing is a core-building workout. The true strength of every punch you throw comes not from the biceps, not from the speed of your arm, but from your lower body and core. With their feet apart and knees bent slightly, boxers put their core behind their shoulders and punches.

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Training techniques, shadowboxing, and punching bag exercises allow you to work on different areas of your body while achieving your ultimate fitness goals. Boxers do special exercises with light speed bags to build speed and strengthen the forearms and shoulders, while large sandbags challenge and build their core. Other training techniques focus on building muscles in your arms and legs, teaching you to know and control your heart rate, and building endurance. On top of that, endurance is another overlooked aspect of boxing. The sport is much like basketball in that endurance is a key ability.

Hand-Eye Coordination

Boxing uses a variety of punches, including jabs, crosses, hooks, and uppercuts. For instance, a jab is a short (usually) left-handed punch where your shoulder is facing the opponent, while an uppercut is a punch thrown upward from the waist. Even when boxing with a punching bag, this is a strategic sport that uses a variety of moves chosen to defeat opponents.

These said variety of movements teach hand-eye coordination, allowing you to better understand the movement of your fists, wrists, elbows, and shoulders. All in all, boxing teaches hand, eye, and of course, arm coordination that allows you to unite visual and motor skills in ways that will help you well beyond the gym.

Most people don’t realize it, but boxing is a core-building workout.

Beating Stress

For many people, though, the greatest benefit of boxing is psychological. Stress and anxiety have a huge impact on our health, as well as our productivity and general happiness. Boxing is a way to release that stress, and it’s not just about imagining your income tax bill while hitting a sandbag. Boxing helps the brain release endorphins that elevate your mood and clear your mind. You build a sense of mental clarity that stays with you long after your workout.

Boosting Confidence

Many people who take up boxing testify that they soon feel more confident, content, and at peace. The vigorous training makes them feel stronger and healthier, and it didn’t take long for their bodies to grow leaner and fitter. But most definitely, the major positive result is they feel better about themselves.

And of course, boxing is a type of self-defense that teaches participants to be able to defend themselves and their loved ones. That’s a different type of confidence if you ask us.

A Hit to Insomnia

Research has shown that high-intensity cardiovascular exercise like boxing improves how fast people fall asleep as well as their quality of sleep. The repetitive motion of hitting a punching bag or sparring with a partner clears the mind and puts participants at ease. A solid workout that relieves stress creates the ideal mental condition for sleep.

A Community Hit

People of all different sorts and backgrounds find a common bond in boxing. In most major cities, you’ll find boxing gyms, classes, and clubs where boxing enthusiasts meet and create life-long friendships. Maintaining a regular exercise routine is much easier—and more fun—when you work out with friends who enjoy the same hobby. While boxing may ironically seem to be about fighting, it’s a sport that draws people together and forms a community.

This is the same community spirit the New Orleans Athletic Club fosters, where members share boxing tips and give each other instructions to improve at the sport. One such member is Debayan Ghosh, who said that the tight-knit bond among boxing enthusiasts at the NOAC inspires and gives him energy. 

“Everybody is my friend. I go up there and I box with them and it’s just my cardio which is fun and I learn how to move and they show me how to move. Sometimes I invite them to the bar that I work at and they come and eat. It’s just an absolutely incredible community of people here that I am just grateful of. Seriously, this place changed my life.”

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Jumping into the Ring

It’s easy to get started at boxing. You can begin in your own living room with zero boxing equipment and just YouTube. In addition to videos teaching standard boxing, you’ll find all sorts of exercises based on boxing techniques that trainers have created, most of them free of charge.

However, don’t stop yourself from looking around for gyms, classes, and clubs, because boxing is a social sport where you’ll meet like-minded people who support one another in both growth and keeping up an exercise regime.

The New Orleans Athletics Club has a dedicated Boxing and Stretching Area complete with a boxing ring, punching bags, and other equipment for your workout needs. The athletics club also offers instructors and classes, including:

Join the Boxing Classes Offered at the NOAC

  • Boxercise (Boxing Fundamentals): A combat sport dating back to Ancient Greece, with high intensity interval training. Using a circuit training format, students achieve full-body (cardio/aerobic, strength training/muscle building) workouts while learning punching and defense techniques and overall, reinforcing those skills working with each of the nine training stations. All equipment provided.

The benefits of boxing are many, that’s already a given fact. Boxing gives participants the cardiovascular exercise doctors recommend because they burn off calories, lose weight, and lower their cholesterol, all of which help prevent health issues such as high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke. And that’s only the physical side. Mentally, boxing relieves stress and anxiety, focuses the mind, aids sleep, and builds confidence.

But most importantly, it’s a fun, social exercise where you’ll feel like you’ve certainly worked hard but that feeling will be more than good.


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