The Pros & Cons About Boxing

Taking up the sport of boxing can change your life in a number of ways. Boxing provides a challenging workout for your entire body and can lead to several physical and emotional benefits. A life in the sport, however, isn't without its risks. Because boxing is a contact sport, its drawbacks are related to the physical toll the sport can take on your body and mind.

Regular boxing workouts can strengthen your body and boost your confidence. (Image: Jupiterimages/Pixland/Getty Images)

Build a Healthy, Fit Body

Training in boxing can transform your body. Several elements of a standard boxing workout, including running, jumping rope, hitting the heavy bag and sparring, can help you burn hundreds of calories in a short duration. These activities can help you lose weight or avoid weight gain. Boxing also strengthens the muscles throughout your body and improves your cardiovascular fitness. The improved endurance and stronger muscles you build translate effectively into life outside the ring, giving you the ability to perform everyday movements with energy and a decreased risk of injury.

Punch Away the Stress

Beyond the many physical benefits of boxing, it's impossible to discount the emotional perks of this form of exercise. As with many forms of exercise, practicing boxing can quickly help you forget about the day's stresses and help clear your mind. As you build your body, you can experience heightened self-esteem and a higher level of confidence. For example, if you travel alone at night on the subway, being adept at boxing can make you feel less nervous.

Prepare for Bumps and Bruises

A solo boxing workout can improve your health, but once you add contact drills such as sparring to your gym visits, you increase your chance of injury. A significant drawback to boxing is the variety of contact-related injuries you can experience. Even while wearing head and mouth protection, sparring and competition can lead to minor injuries such as bruises and split lips and more serious injuries such as broken bones and concussions. Not all boxing-related injuries occur because of getting struck. Many boxers break fingers and develop wrist injuries from punching.

Repeated Trauma is a Major Concern

Short-term boxing injuries heal in time, but the long-term toll of this sport is a major drawback. The repeated trauma that boxers face in the ring can gravely affect their quality of life in the years after their retirement. Dementia pugilistica, more commonly known as being "punch drunk," is a brain disorder that results from repeated blows to the head. Many former boxers, including Muhammad Ali, have suffered the neurological effects of the sport's physical toll.

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