Boxing. The word does evoke many images, but the most basic one is a sparring ring with two boxers going up against each other, as if their life depended on it.

Well, we don’t recommend fighting it out, but one can certainly use boxing to get fit; it’s not just for combat training.

The health advantages of boxing are aplenty, what with the activity being a great anaerobic exercise. Here are five reasons why you should take up boxing:

Plus 1: Cardiovascular Fitness
Boxing is a high intensity cardiovascular workout; the kind that is recommended to reduce blood pressure, and prevent heart attacks and strokes. Boxers fight for three minutes with one-minute recovery periods, and then do bag work for similar durations. This start-stop form of exercise is commonly called interval training, which is an effective way to develop cardiovascular fitness.

Plus 2: Bone Density
One look at boxers and you are sure to notice their well-defined physique. Strong arms, steady legs and ripped abs are all signs that boxing is a full-body workout, as it utilizes every major bone. Bone mass normally peaks between mid-30s and late 30s. If left unchecked, it gradually declines as you age. Boxing along with weight-bearing exercises, and exercises that place a significant load through your bones can reduce the loss of bone density, and may even result in increased bone mass.

Plus 3: Weight Loss
Boxing is an intense sport. The energetic activity results in a great burn to the tune of 350 calories in an hour. A boxing class specifically targeted at weight loss can help you burn even more—exceeding 600 to 800 calories in 45 minutes. Boxing engages the core, and the upper and lower body. You skip, do push-ups, squats, and all the old school exercises that will not only make you lose weight, but also build your stamina and physique.

Plus 4: Mental Toughness
Strength comes from overcoming resistance and adversity; in boxing, you use resistance as a form of training from day one. The resistance resonates throughout the learning process: resistance against your current fitness level; resistance against your opponent; resistance against the urge to quit.

Plus 5: Confidence
Your confidence and self -image comes from your self-esteem. Boxing makes you feel empowered, improves your stance, balances your gait, tones your body, and makes you lose weight the right way. The exercise can help a great deal by improving how you perceive yourself.

It is truly one the best sports forms as it builds you up from scratch, gives you plenty of health benefits, and is quite low-cost to practice. Most boxing gyms provide you with boxing gloves and mouth guards, and in its simplest form, you can plant a punching bag in an open space to get started.