For so many years, my only knowledge of boxing stemmed from the eight Rocky movies that I was coerced into watching by my dad growing up. While these movies weren't the genre that many other eight-year-old girls or I would gravitate towards (stereotypically, my tastes were more along the barbie variety lines), I couldn't help but get "fired-up" watching Mr. Balboa prep for his fights and listening to that theme song. You know the one, "Baa baa baa baa ba ba baa ba ba- baa ba ba ba ba ba ba baa ba ba - baa ba ba ba ba ba ba baa ba ba ba- ba ba ba ba baba baba…" if you are unfamiliar I would recommend giving her a little listen, you'll see what I mean! Despite my unassuming love for these films and my new-found interest in the sport of boxing, eight-year-old Meg couldn't help but notice that the only female character with any real power (Adriana) existed outside the ring.
For so long, boxing has been misrepresented to women. Unfortunately, the media and movies like Rocky have made many women feel like there is no space or room for us in the sport of boxing. That we lack the strength, agility, stamina to succeed in the sport. Well, I would like to reverse this archaic narrative by setting a few things straight! There are so many physical and mental benefits of boxing for women.
- Do you often find yourself feeling lethargic? Consistently depleted of energy and always sleepy? Boxing can help by improving stamina & endurance, allowing us to feel more energized and less exhausted. As a form of Hiit workout (High-Intensity Interval Training), practicing boxing exercises such as shadow-boxing or sparring keeps your heart rate elevated even when you are resting! This in turn, allows our bodies and minds to feel more alert and awake.
- Always cold? Purple fingernails and toenails? Boxing can help! Boxing prevents heart disease & increases blood circulation! This increase in blood circulation raises our body temperature and helps us feel warmer in the colder months. Additionally, this increase in blood circulation also improves our exercise recovery rate. Truly, it's a double whammy!
- Want to feel strong? Not only does boxing help with our bodies' endurance, but it also can aid in gaining strength. While boxing, we utilize many muscles in our bodies; constant work and utilization result in quicker muscle-memory and bigger and stronger muscles.
- Seasonal-sads getting you down? Gloomy and cold weather making you feel unmotivated or uninspired? While boxing will definitely not solve all your problems ( I would personally suggest some therapy… worked wonders for me!), it has been proven to improve mental health as exercising produces endorphins, or "happy hormones." This allows us a little break from the practice of actively putting ourselves into a positive frame of mind which can be exhausting. When our body releases endorphins via exercise, our mood is instantly boosted!
- Want to feel safer? It's tough to be a woman in our world today. It is not fair how many more factors we must consider maintaining our safety at the hands of external forces. It is something many of us have had to adapt to and grow accustomed to. Boxing is a great form of self-defence, allowing women to feel empowerment and safety. Not only does boxing make us stronger, but it teaches us effective self-defence techniques, well-equipping us for any dangerous situations.
- Feeling Impatient? Not grounded? Boxing promotes and involves the practice of breath-work, forcing us to zero-in and focus on our breath. Breath-work in the ring translates to healthy breath practices in our everyday lives! One cannot hold their breath while boxing, and it is the same in life!
So while Hollywood still falls short of implementing women in boxing films, we can turn to one another as forms of inspiration and motivation to begin our boxing journeys. The unknown and unfamiliar can be uncomfortable, but that's where the growth stems from, baby! So put on those gloves, practice in the mirror, and see for yourself how boxing can have a positive impact on your life!