Boxing truly is a wonderful thing, many from the outside only really see the glamour or brutality of professional boxing for the most part. While I do agree that it is a big part of the sport, there are also many great mental health benefits to it.
At times I have struggled with my own mental health in terms of where to go in life, relationships, and career. But for me I’ve always ended up coming back to sport we call the sweet science. If you participate in it now, you will know the positive addiction you can get from it. However, just like with anything in life too much of one thing can be bad for you.
In the case of boxing I wanted to give you some examples of how it can actually improve your mental health. Whether you have never boxed before and are looking for ways to improve your mental health, or have fallen away from boxing and need a reason to return. I hope this article will be able to help you in some way.
Before I get onto my list of points below, here is a brilliant tweet by former heavyweight world champion Wladimir Klitschko who posted about how the magic of the sport of boxing.
1. Physical Training of Boxing Helps Endorphin production
First point I want to make is that by boxing training it will obviously help your physical health, but by doing so it will help the production of endorphins. For those that are unsure what are endorphins are here is great explanation by Webmed of the effects after exercise:
“When you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins. These endorphins interact with the receptors in your brain that reduce your perception of pain. Endorphins also trigger a positive feeling in the body, similar to that of morphine.”
So yes, sometimes the thought of doing exercise can be a daunting task for some. But for the most part it will make you feel so much better after you have done a training session.
2. Complete Mental Focus
The other brilliant thing about boxing is that it gives you complete mental focus on the task at hand. No matter what exercise you are doing it helps to keep you in the present moment.
If you are using the punch bag you have to focus on the types of punches you are throwing or combinations, even if it is repetitive. Even when you start to use reflex equipment like a double end bag or cobra bag, you have to have complete focus or you will miss time with your punches.
This mental focus boxing gives you is absolutely key in helping you focus on the present and not so much on the past or future which can often give you anxiety.
3. Boosts your Confidence
Boxing without a doubt will boost your confidence, no matter what level you are at. In this sport the more you practice and train the better you will get skillswise along with physically.
There is something about learning how to fight, whether that be boxing or any mixed martial art for that matter. It truly gives you confidence you need to go out in the world knowing you can handle yourself for the most part.
Also the physical element of the training will put you in a fantastic shape, which in turn will also make you feel much more confident!
4. Helps you look within
This is something I’ve found the sport has given me and that is looking within myself, to become a better man and fighter.
As much as boxing gives you many highs, you can also have lots of downs, in terms of picking up injuries or having bad sparring sessions.
However, this is in fact a positive thing for those that commit to the sport or makes you want to come back even stronger in the next session.
5. Social Interaction
Now as much as boxing can be a very lonely sport, in actual fact that couldn’t be further from the truth, especially if you are training at a boxing gym. It gives you an opportunity to train and talk with like minded individuals who love the sport.
You will be surprised how many good people will come across the gym whether that be a training partner or gym. It will give you a sense of belonging which in turn helps boost you mentally.
Now I’m sure not all gyms are like this, and if you’re close or near a few gyms make sure to try them all, see which one gives you the best vibes before you commit to it.
6. Gives you a Fighting Spirit
Now obviously boxing is a combat sport, and one of the things it has given me is that “fighting spirit” not just with boxing. But also within other areas of my life where I want to fight to be better where that be business or other personal goals. Here is quote by Olympic Bob Richards which has really resonated with me regarding the fighting spirit:
“It may sound strange, but many champions are made champions by setback. They are champions because they’ve been hurt. Their experience moved them, and they pulled out this fighting spirit, making them what they are. Sometimes in life, God gives us a difficulty in order to bring out the fighting spirit. Everything that happens to you can happen for good if you have this spirit. The essential thing in life is not in the conquering, but in the fight.”Bob Richards
Hopefully this quote has resonated with you to bring out that fighting spirit, and boxing is a great way to help give you that fighting spirit.
7. Gives self belief
Another thing that boxing can help with is your overall self belief. But what is self belief? This is something that you will see thrown around without people truly understanding or knowing what this. Bandura 1995 states it as the following:
“Self belief – is a person’s belief in their ability to complete tasks and to achieve their goals”Burdura 1995
Boxing give you the ability to have self belief by dining specific part of the training, even the overall training session. For example if you do a 60 minute boxing workout you can split this up into the follow
- Skipping or shadow boxing (warm up)
- Heavy bag(4 rounds)
- Double end bag(4 rounds)
- Partner Drill / Mitt Work or Shadow Boxing (4 rounds)
Looking at this first could seem like a lot for some but by breaking down the training session you are able to achieve each exercise one by one. Therefore raising your self belief to achieve and reach other goals. Try this with anything in your life, by writing down and chopping up all the tasks you have to do into smaller segments. You will then have much more self belief doing thing in life.
8. Brilliant reliever for stress and anger
Finishing off with probably one of the most obvious is that boxing training can be a great reliever of stress and anger. By punching a heaving bag it can be a great reliever of the emotions you are holding in.
This in turn helps relieve all that tension you have built up, helping you to release or letting go. The other great thing about boxing training is that it helps control those emotions, in particular anger. As I mentioned earlier on this list, boxing can give you complete focus, and by punching heavy bags or mitts you can channel your anger into your punches without losing control. Eventually you can put this sparring or even competition if you wish to go that far.
Now as much as I believe boxing can play a huge part in helping your mental health. It is no way the only solution to get help.
If you are really struggling from mental health or even just need someone to talk to. I highly recommend you check out BetterHelp.com or OnlineTherapy.com. These are far better resources at helping you mental health if you are truly struggling.
I hope this article was able to give you some motivation to try boxing or even start training again.
You can also check out the following articles below which might be able to help your mental health.
- Boxing Psychology | Master Your Mind
- Boxing And Meditation | How It Can Help You
- Nootropics and Boxing
- 6 Steps For Maximum Motivation
- Sugar Ray Leonard – How To Achieve Your Dreams
Thanks for reading!
I'm a boxing analyst, amateur boxer, and blogger looking to pass on my boxing experiences and passion to anyone looking to learn or find out more about the sport of boxing. Whether that be gear reviews, fighter analysis, news, training tips, or my own personal journey, I'll be covering it on 'Boxing Life'.
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As an enthusiast and analyst deeply entrenched in the world of boxing, my extensive experience allows me to shed light on the multifaceted aspects of this noble sport. I've not only delved into the technicalities of boxing as an amateur boxer but have also closely followed and analyzed professional matches. My insights into the mental and physical benefits of boxing stem from personal involvement, observations of renowned boxers, and an understanding of the psychological and physiological impacts of the sport.
Now, let's break down the concepts discussed in the article:
Physical Training and Endorphin Production:
- Boxing training contributes to physical health, leading to the production of endorphins.
- Endorphins, released during exercise, reduce the perception of pain and generate a positive feeling in the body.
Complete Mental Focus:
- Boxing demands complete mental focus on the task at hand, fostering mindfulness.
- Engaging in exercises like punching bags requires concentration on techniques, promoting a present-moment focus.
- Regular practice and training in boxing enhance skills and physical fitness, resulting in increased confidence.
- Learning the art of self-defense instills a sense of confidence, empowering individuals in various aspects of life.
Self-Reflection and Personal Growth:
- Boxing facilitates self-reflection, encouraging individuals to become better versions of themselves.
- Overcoming challenges, such as injuries or setbacks, contributes to personal growth and resilience.
- Despite the solitary nature of the sport, training in a boxing gym provides opportunities for social interaction.
- Connecting with like-minded individuals fosters a sense of belonging, positively impacting mental well-being.
- Boxing instills a "fighting spirit" that extends beyond the ring to other areas of life.
- Setbacks and challenges in boxing can cultivate resilience and determination, shaping a formidable spirit.
- Boxing training, structured into segments, helps build self-belief by achieving smaller goals.
- The ability to break down tasks and accomplish them translates to increased self-confidence in other aspects of life.
Stress and Anger Relief:
- Boxing serves as an effective outlet for stress and anger, particularly through heavy bag workouts.
- The sport provides a controlled environment to channel emotions, aiding in emotional release and regulation.
The final thoughts emphasize that while boxing can significantly contribute to mental health, it is not a standalone solution. The author recommends seeking professional help if struggling with mental health issues, showcasing a responsible and holistic approach to well-being. The provided links to articles on boxing psychology, meditation, and related topics further demonstrate the author's commitment to offering comprehensive insights and resources to the audience.