While some women prefer the calmness and zen of a yoga class, others would rather work out in the ring than in a quiet studio. Despite the fact that it's a combat sport, boxing can be relatively safe, especially compared with other contact sports. In fact, you might find you love it as a way to stay fit and act out your Rocky daydreams without the fear of getting hurt.
Boxing and Other Sports
When compared to contact sports, boxing doesn't even make the top 10 list of most dangerous sports. In fact, football, basketball, baseball, hockey, swimming and a few others have more potential for injury, according to a report published by "Forbes." Another report by the International Boxing Association suggested that women are less likely to sustain similar injuries because of their smaller and more flexible heads, necks and shoulders. The same report points out that boxing -- and possible blows to the chest -- doesn't increase your risk of breast cancer, which was once a concern for female boxers.
Amateurs vs. Pros
Another thing that boxing has going for it as a sport or fitness program is the fact that if you were to take up boxing, you'd be in an amateur league. Amateur leagues are made up of boxers with limited skills and the leagues have strict fighting guidelines, thanks to referees who enforce the league rules. While pro leagues might be dangerous due to the nature and skill of the boxers, amateur leagues are generally safe and very well monitored.
It's true that boxing -- like all other sports -- carries with it the potential for injury. In general, as long as you're wearing the proper gear and using the right techniques, you should be safe. Still, you may experience problems such as broken bones from impact, tears and sprains from maneuvering around the ring -- or even head injuries after blows to the head. If you're nervous about injury or concussion, check the league rules. To keep boxers safe, some boxing leagues forbid blows to the head, which might be a good precaution if you're new to the sport.
Some women should avoid boxing altogether. Contact sports aren't appropriate for pregnant women, and you should always check with your doc before getting in the ring, particularly if you have an existing medical condition.
Wearing head protection, proper gloves and shoes should all help to protect you from concussions, sprains and tears. However, be sure that you have your technique down before you challenge another boxer. Signing up for a class, getting an instructor and practicing before you go head-to-head means you won't injure yourself because of sloppy technique or bad footwork. Make sure you're ready before you step into the ring, and you can protect yourself from injury, even while sparring with another boxer.
Kay Ireland specializes in health, fitness and lifestyle topics. She is a support worker in the neonatal intensive care and antepartum units of her local hospital and recently became a certified group fitness instructor.