If the treadmill or elliptical machine are no longer inspiring you to get out of bed in the morning and drag yourself to the gym, it might be time to take up a new sport. If you're a competitive person, trying a physical activity such as boxing or judo is an effective way to burn off steam, along with plenty of calories. Each sport provides numerous benefits, even if don't ever want to compete in earnest.
Many large cities have boxing gyms in which fighters perfect their craft. But you don't have to have aspirations of slugging it out in the ring to get involved in the sport. Countless people attend boxing gyms for the workout the sport provides. Boxers wear heavy, padded gloves and cotton wraps under the gloves. In amateur boxing, fighters score points by landing clear shots to their opponents, and a referee in the ring ensures the fighters keep their punches above the waist and don't use their elbows or heads. The objective of the sport is to score more points than your opponent or knock her down with a punch.
Judo is a martial art that relies on grappling techniques, throws and submission moves. Unlike boxing, which takes place standing up, judo matches begin standing up but can move to the mat. People of all ages practice judo, and many parents enroll their children in judo classes because in addition to the physical benefits, the sport's philosophies emphasize respect and the melding of the body and mind. Many mixed martial artists use judo-inspired takedowns and holds in their matches.
When competing, boxers wear shorts, tank tops and specially designed shoes. Amateur boxers wear headgear, which protects the top and sides of the head from impact, but upon turning professional, must remove the headgear. In judo, practitioners known as "judoka," wear a uniform called a "judogi" or "gi." The uniform is made of thick cotton and has long pants and sleeves, which allows a judoka to grab her opponent by the uniform to throw her. Judoka wrap the uniform with a colored belt based on their level of judo and have bare feet during matches.
Sport as Exercise
Boxing and judo provide full-body workouts to those who practice them. If you're hesitant about physical competition, boxing is ideal because you can work out by hitting the heavy bag, shadow boxing and perfecting your hand speed on the speed bag without every worrying about getting hit. Judo practice often requires a partner, as it's tough to perfect a throw by yourself. Properly executed throws on the judo mat take some getting used to, but are not overly painful. Both sports are effective calorie burners; Harvard Medical School says that a 125 pound person will burn 270 calories in 30 minutes of boxing, while the same person will burn 300 calories in 30 minutes of judo.
- Encyclopaedia Britannica: Marquess of Queensberry Rules
- California State University Bakersfield: History of Judo
- Fighting Arts: The Four Pillars Of Judo
- Harvard Health Publications: Calories burned in 30 Minutes for People of Three Different Weights
- Bodybuilding.com: The Art of Boxing
- Canberra Ippon Judo Club: Benefits of Judo
Toronto-based journalist William McCoy has been writing since 1997, specializing in topics such as sports, nutrition and health. He serves as the Studio's sports and recreation section expert. McCoy is a journalism graduate of Ryerson University.