It may be atypical for a 4'10", post-cancer and post-chemo woman to take up boxing for the first time at age 56. Particularly a woman who was brought up singing Kumbaya and I'm gonna lay down my sword and shield. But I started boxing about 3 months ago anyway.
Boxing has turned out to be more fun than rollerblading, more strenuous than jogging, more full of dance-like moving than Zumba, and one of the most strenuous and challenging sports I've ever tried.
Here's what I love during boxing: Hitting stuff. Now don't get me wrong; I'm not anti-intellectual. I spend my days practicing criminal defense law. It's a challenging, academic, professional, and heartwrenching environment. By the end of the day, I've maxed out on intellectual-adversarial-professional banter, emotional involvement, and computer work. When I step into the boxing gym, I can brush that all off. I hit things as hard as I can. I put my body and soul into it. I move my knees and hips into it. I slip and roll to avoid hits and if my timing is off, I get hit. There's nothing like it to bring you fully into the present moment.
Here's what I like after boxing: Endorphins. I always thought boxing was anaerobic, not aerobic. Wrong! We do 4-minute rounds, not 3-minute rounds, for practice. On the 15-second rest period, we often do squats or pushups. After hitting stuff, we do abs and pushups. And abs and
pushups. And abs and pushups. By the end of class, I'm drenched in sweat, craving water, and calm. There's little energy left over for driving home, much less for worrying. And I'm loving those muscles.
Here's what I like about boxers: No guile. There's a diverse crowd at my boxing gym, and it includes tough, ripped, guys; women of different ages; teachers, lawyer(s), cops, Navy guys, waitresses, counselors, and students. But once we start hitting the bags, we are all the same - putting in our best effort and getting better.
Here are a few extra words in favor of boxing, given the fact that I live in the Pacific Northwest: The rains started here a few weeks ago and will last until spring. Boxing is indoors, so it's year round. Boxing heats you up in about 2 seconds, so it takes the chill right off. Boxing in the evening is in a lighted gym, so it scares off the depressing darkness which will start at about 4:30 pm in the winter. Surprisingly, boxing also turns out to be pretty social; it's hard to pair off and hit someone without introducing yourself and trying to form a little connection with them first.
Those are the things that I'm enjoying about boxing. And I'm not sure if I mentioned this, but with boxing, you get to hit stuff. I hope I can write an article like this again when I'm 66. And 76. And ...