We would all like to imagine ourselves in our prime at the peak of our physical ability sometime in our early to mid-20s. Now, you’re probably past that and as part of your 2020 New Year’s resolutions you've promised yourself that you’re going to get back into sports and you chose boxing! Well, that’s a great choice! Boxing has numerous benefits besides just shedding a couple kilos of fat and building up a few muscles. However, before you get to any of that, you have to know what boxing supplies are best for you to start off with to achieve the goals you’ve set out for yourself. The three factors you will obviously want to consider are: price, durability and material.
The Health Benefits
Boxing has been scientifically proven to have numerous health benefits besides the obvious physical advantages of losing belly fat and gaining muscle but those are only superficial. It’s what happens inside you that’s far more valuable to your well-being and long-term health. Resistance training is exercise that improves your muscular strength and endurance and boxing falls into that category. Resistance training is responsible at the same time for strengthening your bones and ligaments since as your muscles grow, your body has to compensate and thus, so do your bones and ligaments to withstand the pressure. This is critical for reducing the progression of osteoporosis. This is especially true for women as osteoporosis affects 200 million worldwide with 20% of women aged 70 having it, 40% of those aged 70 and two-thirds aged 90. An annual national study concluded that 80% of all fractures in Canada after the age of 50 are caused by osteoporosis. So why wait, why not pack your boxing equipment and start today? But that’s not all.
Exercising also improves your cardiovascular fitness by making your heart work harder to pump oxygen throughout your body which builds up those muscles. The increased strength of those muscles leads to a decreased risk of heart attack and stroke. This is also because exercise naturally increases your HDL (good cholesterol levels) and lowers your blood pressure which is a problem for approximately 24.5% of Canadian males and 21.5% for females. These numbers obviously inflate with age. Another upside of boxing is the stress relief. Letting out your pent-up anger through physical exertion makes you feel really good! Whether it’s your boss at work, or a co-worker, you can always let it out on a punching bag. Finally, physical activity leads to you feeling better about yourself. When you dedicate yourself to something to become the best you can be and you attain those goals. You get a sense of pride that’s different than when goals are imposed on you by your employer because they were yours and yours alone. Achieving those goals leads to greater self-confidence and esteem which can be applicable in whichever area in your life you want to apply to.
Starting Off Your Training - Gloves
Before you start off with anything, you need to make sure that you’re prepared for whatever challenges lie ahead of you. In the case of boxing, it’s whatever challenges you put forward for yourself. To begin with your wardrobe, the first thing you will need is a good pair of boxing gloves. Let’s go back to our 3 factors mentioned earlier: price, durability and material. Let’s see how each of them stack up. When purchasing boxing gloves, you have to worry about the size, type and materials involved. The two types of materials commonly used are vinyl and leather. If you are just starting out, you might want to consider vinyl gloves. They are far more affordable, priced at around $30-60. On the other hand, leather is much better if you plan on practicing regularly since it's better in terms of comfort and durability. Vinyl makes your hands get very hot and sweaty quickly while leather gloves are more ventilated. It’s also not nearly as long lasting as leather and is more prone to ripping and scratches. Leather also molds to your hand’s shape and fits better over time. Vinyl can still be an option for fitness classes in which you won’t be making contact as much.
There are also two types of boxing gloves: training and bag gloves. Training gloves can work for a variety of activities but are generally used for a mix of sparring and punching bags. Bag gloves on the other hand are used primarily for, you guessed it, punching bags. These are ideal if you plan on training at home or working out at the gym. Usually this is the type to use. Finally, we have to discuss size. The common glove sizes range from 10oz to 16oz. The lighter ones (i.e. 10/12oz.) are more often used for bag work while the heavier models (i.e. 14/16oz.) are more often used for sparring. The size of the glove is determined by the amount of padding and thus the amount of protection your hand gets. Make sure when you’re putting on your glove that your fingertips can graze the top of the boxing gloves. Once you’ve chosen the right boxing gloves for you, you can start to fill out the rest of your arsenal.
The Perfect Punching Bag
There are also three different types of punching bags for you to consider during your training. The first is heavy bags. These are the ones that hang from the ceiling and are ideal for strength training because it’s the most resistant to your strikes which makes it more rough and tough. Don’t overexert yourself with these or you might get injured if you slack off with your technique! They usually weigh between 70 and 150 pounds and are great for punching and kicking. Just make sure your ceiling can handle the weight of the bag if you choose to install one. They may cost anywhere from $100- $200 for your average shopper. The disadvantages are that they are stationary and you can’t move them around to suit your needs without taking it apart.
If the taking apart and hooking back up to the ceiling becomes a problem, you can try free-standing bags. These are the ones that are usually filled with water or sand and sit on a sturdy base. They also provide great resistance training and they are great for kicking while not so great for uppercuts. You’ll usually see these in martial arts dojos. They may cost anywhere from $150-250 and if you plan on going more into sparring, there is a variation on this type called a body bag. What it is a free-standing bag taking the shape of a human so you better envision where exactly you’re throwing your punches to improve accuracy. Finally, there are the speed bags. These are the small air-filled bags that can either hang from the ceiling or be sold as free-standing. They are called speed bags because of their ricochet after you make contact with them and how they snap back up. These are the most beneficial to improving hand-eye coordination and accuracy because of their smaller size and speed. These are great for sparring practice and are used by pros to practice drills of quick punches and kicks. They are also more affordable, priced anywhere from $30-$100.
Picking out the boxing stuff you need relies on you knowing which boxing supplies fit your style of training. That means picking out the right boxing gloves for you depending on how often you want to practice, how much you want to pay and how you want to practice. It’s also a matter of picking out the right bags for you since you won't be able to rely on a buddy to come over to train with you. It also doesn’t hurt to know the numerous health benefits of boxing before starting off. So why wait? Start off your boxing journey today!