Unveiling the Benefits of Sparring

At Boxing Trainer London we feel when you are ready and if you want to then light technical sparring is a great form of fun and fitness training.

Contact sparring in any martial art – particularly in martial arts that involve striking – does come with a certain amount of risk . Participating in too much heavy sparring can put you at a greater danger of injury before a tournament or fight, which might force you to have to pull out of competition or fight when you’re feeling less than one hundred percent. Sparring recklessly or too intensely in general can also be detrimental to your long-term health, putting you at greater risk for brain damage and other head injuries if you’re not careful.

That doesn’t mean that all sparring is bad, though. When it’s done safely, under the supervision of your instructors and with the proper sparring gear, technical sparring (sparring which focusses on the proper execution of techniques that you’ve learned in training and is only performed at a fraction of the intensity of actual competition) can be great for you as both a martial artist and a human being. Here are five ways in which responsible sparring can be beneficial to your mental and physical health.

 

1. Proper martial arts sparring can be safer than most other extreme fitness programs.

While Crossfit and other high intensity programs filled with strongman-style exercises, like tire flipping and hammer swinging, can look and feel cool, the risk for injury can be high. Some experts believe that responsible technical sparring in disciplines like boxing can actually be the better way to push your limits safely, because the movements involved are more natural and instinctual.

2. It’s great cardio.

Even when it’s performed at a safe and moderate intensity with the proper sparring equipment, the cardiovascular demands of a sparring session are unparalleled. It takes a certain level of fitness to be able to perform the techniques and forms of a martial art – and it takes even more fitness to be able to perform them with a partner in the heat of the moment. When you add the heart rate-raising mental demands of facing off against an opponent in the heat of “battle,” you’ve got a combination that will challenge your conditioning like no other physical activity. And, if you keep it up on a responsibly regular schedule, you’ll start to see your fitness rise to meet that challenge.

4. It keeps you on your toes.

While the basic rules – like being safe, responsible, and wearing proper sparring gear – should ideally remain the same each time, no two sparring sessions are ever alike. You might be facing a new partner. You might try new things. They might try new things and force you to respond in a new way. Which means that you are always learning and forcing yourself to adapt and grow. Which means that you are never at risk of plateauing in your fitness training or your martial arts journey.

5. It’s an excellent source of stress relief.

Speaking of mental health, sparring can be a great way to deal with nerves and anxiety. As counsellor and sport psychologist Jennifer Carter, PhD told Netdoctor in early 2017, training can have an incredible impact on your mental health. Although she was speaking specifically about boxing, her rationale could easily apply to any martial art: “Boxing helps people experiencing difficulties with mental health in many ways. Firstly, the exercise provides a rush of endorphins – a natural mood booster. Classes can help to relieve symptoms of anxiety and depression by focusing the mind and body in the present moment and taking people away from ruminating thoughts or worries. It provides a source of distraction as individuals engage with a fun activity that they look forward to and make new friends in the sociable and supportive group setting. Boxing instills a sense of achievement, building confidence and self-esteem. Classes provide a controlled and safe environment to release any frustration, stress and anger. Boxing encourages a healthier lifestyle, which benefits physical and mental wellbeing, sleep, eating, and self-care and compassion.”

So if you’re feeling low or frustrated, it just might be time to break out the sparring equipment. As long as you remember to stay safe out there!

 

Harnessing the Benefits of Outdoor Training

BENEFITS OF OUTDOOR TRAINING

(Original article edited and added to from Mens Health)

You Only Need 5 Minutes

Park your excuses. According to Environmental Science and Technology journal, just five minutes walking in green space is enough to reduce stress and increase your motivation to stay active. In their research, those who exercised within view of a river or lake experienced the biggest mental boost. Best reroute that commute.

Fresh Air Open Space

Long runs, a PT providing varied outdoor exercises and a cool breeze to speed recovery.  Why did we use gyms in the first place?!

A Park Run Burns More Calories Than a Treadmill

Wind resistance lifts your calorie burn by up to 10%, according to Harvard Medical studies. However, it’s your joints that really stand to benefit here, as the firm, flat surface of a treadmill places more stress on your knees and ligaments. Time to rage against the machines.

Training Outdoors Boosts Your Self-esteem. But Which Type of Exercise is Better?

If you’re chasing the feelgood factor rather than a PB, a stroll should be your activity of choice. Big ideas to pitch at work? Turn your next brainstorming session into a Silicon Valley-esque power-walking meeting. It’ll give your confidence an upgrade.

Booking an Outdoor Fitness PT Makes You More Likely to Stick to it

Men who train in the open air enjoy it more, according to research by Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry, while Canada’s University of Sherbrooke found higher attendance rates for outdoor sessions compared to gym classes. More space and less queuing were cited as reasons. A respite from gurning bros and chart remixes probably helps too.

It Will Keep Your Vitamin D Topped-up

Five to 30 minutes twice a week will keep your D levels at optimum, according to the National Institutes of Health. That’s a weekday jog and Sunday morning calisthenics in the park. Schedule sessions for 11am-3pm when the sun’s rays are at their strongest. Don’t overdo it though; no summer six-pack will make up for a lobster’s complexion.

Does Gardening Count?

Ain’t nothing weedy bout weeding! A Konkuk University study found that digging and mulching counts as a proper workout. Weeding has been given an MET score of 5 (that’s it’s ‘metabolic equivalent’ value; anything over 3 is considered high-intensity). Digging scored highest with a value of 6.3 – the same as weightlifting.

Heat Things Up

Your gym’s aircon could be freezing your fitness gains. In a University of Oregon study, cyclists saw a 7% improvement in performance after 10 days of ‘heat exposure’ training.

Exercising in warm weather improves your ability to regulate body temperature and helps the heart pump more blood to your muscles. Returning to the gym