​Why Does Boxing Make You Happy?

Jab, left-hook, upper cut...and smile

News just in. Boxing – 2016's most talked about workout – not only makes you strong, fast and nimble, but it also makes you happy.

In case the Nicola Adamses of the world have yet to convince you, boxing is no longer the preserve of mean-mugging men in local sparring clubs.

ELLE's Editor-in-Chief Lorraine has been boxing herself fit for the last year and loving both what it has done for her mind as well as her body.

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Wanting to get in on some of the action, the ELLE Fit team paired up with Label Online for a boxing class taught by personal trainer Josh Ward, who works with the PT on demand app TruBe, at Spaces in Oxford Street, central London.

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While boxing may have a 'tough guy' reputation with some, Josh explained why boxing is great to incorporate into any workout, whatever shaped-triceps you might have, and why a round of jabs, crosses and upper cuts will make you happy.

Stress Buster

We all know that exercise is a great way to relieve tension, while releasing the endorphins and serotonin that make us feel so good after the session is over.

But whether you realise it or not, boxing is a more focused way of channelling any lingering anger or worry into something concentrated and productive.

The bag presents you with something to confront, a symbol of the issue you need to tackle psychologically, allowing you to actively deal with it.

Putting the Rocky Balboa gloves on might make you feel like an action hero for an hour, but over a longer period of time, the effect that boxing has to make you feel more physically capable will filter into your confidence elsewhere, such as your ability to overcome challenges.

Improve Your Skill Set

As the ELLE Fit team found out during the session, a boxing workout is a lot more strategic than throwing a few random punches.

From upper cuts to hooks and jabs, a boxing workout is made up of limitless combinations and sets which, when put together in sequence, are almost like a well-choreographed dance.

Being able to do these combinations with precision and good technique takes a lot of practice, concentration and perseverance, but once mastered it's a skill that will affect everything from your balance to your reflexes.

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You're Not Alone

Getting motivated to hit the pavements for a 30 minute run or even leave your bed to workout at all can often be hard.

With no-one else to rely on, it's much easier to bail on a gym session and if you do make it out, taking it easy can often seem like a much better option than pushing yourself to the max.

One of the greatest things about boxing is that it almost always involves more than one person.

Whether you're sparring together, doing pair work with the pads or even just holding someone's feet whilst they do sit ups, more often than not you'll be training with others.

Working in a group or in a pair is a great way to progress - a little healthy competition or support is always a great motivator.

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Core Of Steel

So we've established why boxing is such a mood booster, but what does it do for you physically?

The main target area for boxing is your core.

With plenty of rotation of the upper body as you throw out punches, you engage your core to maintain your centre of gravity, whilst also working your obliques (outer abdominal muscles) as you twist.

As part of the workout you will also do some HIIT based exercises such as high knee sprints, skipping and - everyone's favourite - burpees.

While you might not find them the most fun at the time, these short, sharp bursts of cardio will help you melt your body fat, plus they'll boost your speed and fitness levels a lot faster than a simple leisurely jog would.

So with results like abs of steel, super speed and a 'can-do' attitude, what's not to love?

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