Laila Ali, daughter of famed boxer Mohammed Ali, has shown women they can get in the ring and hold their own as well as any man. While I’m not a personal fan of boxing I do admit that is a great calorie-burning workout. One has to be mindful of potential head injuries but if you’re just doing it for the sport of it and to burn calories this may not be as a big a concern for you.
The sport of boxing doesn’t require much explanation. Two people step into a ring and punch each other until there’s a victor. We most likely have the ancient Greeks to thank for this sport. It’s believed that it may have started as part of their olympic gams as the ultimate hand-to-hand combat sport. No weapons. Just the brut force of each man and their fighting strategies. The Brits took boxing to another, the more modern day prize fights. The winners were given purses or cash prize. Some boxing is done with a helmet, however professional boxing as we know it today only uses gloves.
Women began boxing in the early 1900’s Olympic games, however it was banned in most nations. Women’s boxing didn’t appear in the Olympic games very much due to this ban. In the late 1990’s there was an insurgence of women who wanted to box. During this time the WNBA and WUSA were formed, women’s professional basketball and soccer respectively. While professional leagues began on a more local level it was still not widely recognized as a sport. It wasn’t until the 2012 Olympic games in London that we saw women’s boxing again on a national stage. There are many notable female boxers, but most people associate Laila Ali with the sport. Perhaps it was the connection to Mohammed Ali and seeing the legend continue. Or maybe it was her defiance, intentional or not, of stereotypes surrounding Black women. Either way, she broke down barriers.
The benefits of boxing are similar to other hand-to-hand combat sports. Cardiovascular endurance is a must but it also builds muscle strength and tone, along with agility and flexibility. Ironically it also has mental health benefits such as focus, problem-solving and quick-thinking. You’re seamlessly combining offensive and defensive maneuvers to overtake your opponent. Physical and mental acuity are extremely important.
If you’re thinking about giving a boxing a try to amp up your exercise routine fear not you can do so without getting hit in the head. There are programs out there that do it just for the exercise. You still get the benefits of the fancy footwork and speed bag work without have to hit or be hit. If you do want to try your hand at sparring you can do so with protective head gear with others at your level. If you in a class with beginners or people who are also not interested in competing you’re likely to be hit with much less force. Search the internet for local classes. There are clubs popping up all over the country.
Do you like boxing? If you have tips for women wanting to give it a shot, what advice do you have? Comment, share and like. We want to hear from you.
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