If you're forced to choose between boxing and running as a way of staying active, you'll likely pick the latter unless you're interested in discovering how it feels to have a black eye. But unlike traditional boxing, a cardio boxing class doesn't put you in the ring to slug it out with an opponent. You'll learn some of the techniques of the sweet science without ever having to worry about getting hit, which makes this exercise a valid alternative to running.
Cardio boxing classes are common in gyms and boxing clubs and cater to people of all athletic backgrounds. You'll learn basic footwork, how to throw punches and combinations and all the while, you'll burn calories. Because boxing includes constant movement with the upper and lower body, it's an effective way to burn calories. A 155-pound person will burn 335 calories in 30 minutes of sparring; even though cardio boxing isn't exactly sparring, it's essentially sparring without an opponent.
Running is one of the simplest ways to burn calories, and because you can tailor your speed to your level of athleticism, it's ideal for a wide range of people. If a 155-pound person runs at 5 miles per hour for 30 minutes, she'll burn 298 calories, which is slightly less than cardio boxing for the same duration. But if that person can maintain a speed of 6 or 7.5 miles per hour, she'll burn 372 or 465 calories, respectively, in 30 minutes.
If you're trying to choose whether to take up cardio boxing or running, consider how close you are to a gym or boxing club that offers a cardio class. If traveling to a class is a significant time investment, running might be a favorable option. Regardless of where you live, running is a low-maintenance activity that doesn't require any expense other than a reliable pair of shoes. If you're interested in both exercises, include cardio boxing and running in your weekly workout regimen to lessen the chance of either activity becoming stale.
If you have sore joints, determining an activity's impact is important. Although people can wear cushioned shoes and adjust their stride to lessen the impact during running, this activity can have a considerable impact to your joints, which is less than ideal if you have pain. Cardio boxing requires plenty of movement, but because boxing has little to no impact to your leg joints, this activity can be favorable for some people.
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.