Chances are, if you have heard of Siel Bleu, you know how important exercise is, especially for older adults. Exercise is a preventative medicine that keeps our bodies functioning and healthy for longer. Exercise is a pretty general term that encompasses countless options. There are also many ways of approaching getting in shape. However, it’s going to be a lot harder to keep exercising if you don’t enjoy it. One type of exercise that Siel Bleu participants often enjoy most is boxing. Olympic boxers have to retire at 35 and professional boxers are encouraged to retire at 50, but boxing for fitness has no age limit! Fitness boxing does not include sparring with a partner but instead incorporates punching a trainer’s pads, the air, or a bag so no one gets injured, but you get all the benefits.
We introduced boxing into our work with older adults back in 2012. In one particular nursing home we had a number of men who were former boxers, so our trainer Martina Carton introduced the activity much to the participants’ delight. Today the majority of our programmes include some form of boxing activity.
Boxing has many benefits in addition to being fun; it’s an aerobic workout and a form of strength training. By doing both types of training at the same time, you can make the most out of your workout.
The boxing stance strengthens your core, back, and leg muscles while the punches strengthen your shoulders and arms. The aerobic part of boxing does double the work by helping to keep you mentally and physically fit. As an added bonus, if you’re able to stand and box, you’re challenging your balance. Improved balance decreases your risk of falling, keeping you happy and healthy.
Boxing is also a mental challenge. Like when learning a new skill, it develops skills and faculties that you may not have had before. The movement, rhythm, and precision required in boxing use mental and physical coordination, which helps to keep you mentally fit.
Taking up fitness boxing later in life has many benefits, as touted above. However, everyone should consult a doctor before starting a new exercise programme. Choosing an exercise programme that is best for you is the most important part!