Fighting Fit: 8 Reasons why boxing is a perfect peri-menopause pursuit
Menopause is like a constant fight; a fight against ageing, a fight against weight gain, a fight to remain fit and a fight to control those raging hormones responsible for starting the fight in the first place!
In moments of menopause misery you'd be forgiven for feeling inclined to throw a punch at someone. Hold that thought and hold onto your temper, it’s just hormones talking.
Exercise is one of the best forms of relief for your menopause symptoms, and what better way to get those frustrations out of your system than by kicking some ass?
Women's boxing has become increasingly popular. If you want to try something more active than yoga, and step up the intensity of your exercise regime, why not try boxing? Traditionally seen as a contact sport for men, boxing is a fantastic way of working out and toning your whole body. No need to worry about getting left looking like Rocky Balboa, in some boxing workouts you won't ever hit anyone (or be hit yourself).
Aimee Fung, personal trainer, gave Hot Flush a boxing workout and we can certainly tell you that not only was it brilliant for cardio and strength training, it was a whole lot of fun too.
Here are 8 reasons why boxing is a perfect peri-menopause physical pursuit.
In the lead up to menopause and beyond, women need to ensure that they maintain a good level of fitness. Women’s risk of heart disease increases in menopause, as oestrogen no longer protects the heart. So, you need to keep your heart stronger for longer.
Aimee told Hot Flush that “boxing is a great form of cardio exercise. It makes you breath heavily and that means it increases your heart beat.” Increased heart beat shows the heart is pumping blood around your body faster, strengthening your heart muscles, helping to lower your chance of developing cardiovascular issues, such as heart disease and stroke.
Boxing is both an aerobic and anaerobic form of exercise.
Aerobic exercise is low energy exercise that can be done for extended periods of time – think yoga, pilates or swimming. As this is relatively gentle, your body is able to retain a reasonable amount of oxygen which is then carried to your muscles as a form of fuel; giving them the energy they need to sustain whatever exercise it is you are doing. This exercise is a great fat burner and improves your cardiovascular health.
Anaerobic exercise is short and intensive, think HIIT (high intensity interval training). This uses up oxygen faster and means you produce lactic acid, so your body won’t be able to maintain the energy levels for too long. This improves your endurance, muscle tone, metabolism and your ability to withstand fatigue. All brilliant for a menopausal woman don’t you think?
A boxing workout is high intensity, so burns a huge amount of calories. A one hour boxing workout is going to crush a LOT of those unwanted calories.
Boxing doesn’t just crush those calories, it also helps burn off that unwanted visceral fat around your stomach. Are you liking boxing a bit more?
Visceral fat plays a part in many health concerns, so focusing on losing it is no bad thing.
Aimee in her personal training combines resistance work to help burn fat. A combination of exercises include: press-ups, lunges and jumping, along with bouts of skipping and short high intensity running, followed by short rests before the process is repeated all over again!
Strength training is as important as 'fat burning' in menopause, as we need to maintain our bone density to prevent the risk of osteoporosis. Boxing combines a good balance of cardio and strength training and builds up endurance . Not only that, it helps with hand-eye-co-ordination and balance, all-important physical attributes for women who are getting older!
Aimee’s boxing workout involves different forms of movement and repetitive movements of your entire body. The repetition provides strength and power to all parts of your body, you gain both upper and lower body strength, especially to your arms, legs and core areas.
You can smash stress in the face (no-one else please!). Boxing is brilliant for lowering the levels of those stress hormones that go into over-drive in menopause causing symptoms such as anxiety and stress. You might think that pounding a punch bag would send your aggression into overload, yet boxing can be quite therapeutic.
A boxing workout gives you a rush of endorphins, the body’s 'feel-good' chemical. This may help give your mood a natural boost, and in turn, 'knock out' stress. As an added bonus, this rigourous exercise might also improve your sleep.
Improves your mood
Boxing has a positive effect on your mood. A study carried out by the Japan Society of Physical Education, Health and Sport Sciences, claimed that boxing 'improved negative effects, produced positive engagement, and induced tranquillity in both male and female participants. They showed decreased tension-anxiety, anger-hostility, depression, and confusion scores.' So those powerful punches may be just what you need after all. Everyone will be happier so long as no-one gets hurt!
Those endorphins produced by your body during boxing can give a fantastic feeling of wellbeing, something that can be in short supply during menopause. Boxing training can boost your self confidence, especially if it helps to shed some of those unwanted pounds.
Most local gyms also offer some form of women only boxing style workouts. You don't necessarily need to join a gym either, all you need is a skipping rope and stop watch, if you can find a sparring partner, you can support each other and it'll make it more fun too.
Are you more convinced that boxing is a perfect peri-menopause physical pursuit?
Check out our YouTube video Hot Flush Fighting Fit: Fight Club with Aimee. You’ll see why it’s a brilliant all round choice of fitness for women, plus how much fun it can be to have a sparring partner – guess who is Eric and who’s Ernie?