Feel exhausted? In pain? Not as sharp, mentally or physically, as you were just five years ago? Join the club.
Maybe a boxing club.
Traditional gyms offer traditional workout equipment and circuits that promote movement, heart and strength building activity but… they can be boring. The activities are usually performed solo, and even when a fitness instructor is part of the equation in the end the competition to excel is against one’s own self. More reps. More weight. More minutes.
Boxing can be a solo workout (“fitness boxing”) but it’s more fun, and more effective, with a sparring partner – or a group. And age is no barrier! In New Brunswick, a group of seniors took up boxing as a way of fighting back against aging. Alleyne Huggard, at 97, is a member of the KV Golden Gloves Senior Boxing Program and loves it. “It is hard work, but it’s fun, too,” she says, noting “the best punches are the ones where I hit someone and they land on the floor.”
Most boxing for seniors falls into the “fitness boxing” category, in which punches are directed at the bag, or an instructor with a trainer’s pad. This reduces injury while providing an excellent workout. For those who appreciate the combat aspect of boxing, some gyms will supervise sparring depending on the fitness and ability of the participants.
Both types of boxing offer an aerobic, cardiovascular workout along with stress release, both of which are essential to longevity and quality of life. Its balance of upper-body, lower-body and abdominal strength training, in addition to stretching all contribute to improved posture, range and ease of movement, and core strength.
All exercise contributes to improved mental health and because of its aerobic nature, boxing pumps up oxygen levels to help keep the brain fit as well as the body. Vigorous exercise releases “happy hormone”endorphins, and encourages consistency to keep up the positive feeling. And as when learning any new skill, boxing develops skills and facilities – even ones you may not have realized you needed! Signing up for regular classes helps build the good habit of exercising regularly, and working with others who share an interest in the sport is important for social connection.
Many seniors who are transitioning into retirement are discovering exercise as a component of self-care and suddenly have the time to explore their options in this regard.
Eve Corlett, who with husband Rob has operated the Coast’s only 24/7 daycare (Eve’s Family Daycare) for over 25 years is enjoying the novelty of taking time for herself. Through the instructors at Oasis Training (oasistraining.ca) in Gibsons, she was introduced to boxing and returns home from each session “supercharged,” according to Rob. Not just a gym or boxing club, Oasis offers a more complex range of rehabilitative and sport-specific training incorporating the realities of the physiology of aging, weight management and much more, both online and at their Bonniebrook studio.