Girlfriends — Boxing is for us! Yes, us, women over 50! We were raised never to hit, punch, or hurt anyone, especially with our fists. We were raised to think of boxing as the brutish, aggressive domain of men. But fitness boxing isn’t about combat or competition. Fitness boxing — sometimes called non-contact boxing because you never hit another person — is simply the best cardio gift we can give ourselves. If you’ve never thought about how much fun it would be to hit that punching bag at your gym — if words such as jab, cross, hook, and uppercut aren’t in your vocabulary yet — buy or borrow a pair of boxing gloves and start boxing.
Boxing started for me, when I noticed a woman about my age at the gym wearing pink boxing gloves, smiling and laughing as she punched her trainer’s resistance mitts and then moved to throwing jabs at a punching bag. She was sweaty and happy, not hurting anyone, just gleeful with every jab and punch. And fun was not what I was having on the stair climber, as I put in my obligatory 30 minutes, hoping for it to be over as soon as possible. In all my years of gym going, I never put the words gym and fun in the same sentence. But here was this 60-ish woman moving her entire body in a dancing rhythm, swiveling hips, throwing punches and having fun.
I wanted what she was having.
So, here I am, age 64, with my own red boxing gloves and some newly-defined muscles, having almost too much fun at the gym. At first, I kept thinking — this isn’t something I should be doing — really, is it okay to hit? — but with each jab, I overcame my reluctance as I punched the trainer’s resistance mitts. This deeply-ingrained cultural training — girls don’t hit —prevents most women over 50 from considering boxing. But nobody is hitting me, and I’m not fighting anyone. No gritty boxing ring is needed. And as I’m learning the techniques of boxing from my trainer, Kingsley, I’m appreciating the beauty in the sport, especially the artistic athleticism it requires. In boxing, power starts in the hips, requiring every muscle to serve a purpose, linking hands and hips in a dancer’s rhythm.
Here are three big reasons to start boxing today:
One day I hope, in the words of Muhammad Ali, “to float like a butterfly, sting like a bee” — light on my feet, with a quick, penetrating jab. I’m not there quite yet, but I’m hooked — hooked on boxing.