Losing Weight With Boxing Versus Running

Boxers lose more weight in bouts than sparring.
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Running is the best exercise for losing weight, according to lists compiled by the “Harvard Heart Letter” and the Wisconsin Department of Health and Family Services. Boxing doesn’t burn as many calories as running, but boxers can lose more weight than runners if they incorporate running and jumping rope into their exercise routines. How much weight you lose during any exercise depends on your effort, weight and performance.


Running burns more calories than other exercises because it requires more effort. Runners are completely airborne during part of each stride. The impact of jumping and landing is punishing. “In just one mile, a typical runner’s legs will have to absorb more than 100 tons of impact force,” according to a “Harvard Men’s Health Watch” report. Runners must work hard to cope with this stress. Working hard increases heart rate, muscle activity, oxygen production and oxygen burned. You burn more calories when you burn more oxygen. Most people also work harder, and thus burn more calories, when they run faster. Running is also a continuous exercise that requires your heart and muscles to work constantly. Boxing can be very strenuous, but many boxing exercises aren’t continuous.

Running Statistics

Running 5.5-minute miles is the top calorie-burning activity on Wisconsin’s list of 175 activities. It burns 1,553 calories per hour in 190-pound people, 1,267 calories per hour in 155-pound people and 1,062 calories per hour in 130-pound people. One pound equals 3,500 calories. A 155-pound person running 5.5-minute miles for an hour 16 times in a 31-day month will lose almost 6 pounds. Running six-minute miles is tied with bicycling more than 20 mph as the top calorie-burning activity on Harvard’s list of 158 activities. It burns 1,466, 1,228 and 990 calories per hour in 185-, 155- and 125-pound people. A 155-pound person running six-minute miles for an hour 16 times will lose about 5 1/2 pounds. Running eight-minute miles burns more calories than boxing in rings. Running 10-minute miles burns fewer calories than boxing in rings, but more calories than sparring, which burns the same amount of calories as running 11.5-minute miles, according to Harvard.

Boxing Statistics

Boxing in rings for one hour burns 1,035 calories in 190-pound people, 844 calories in 155-pound people and 708 calories in 130-pound people, according to Wisconsin. Bouts aren’t held regularly, though, so boxers should spar and punch punching bags to lose weight. Sparring burns 800, 670 and 540 calories per hour in 185-, 155- and 125-pound people, according to Harvard. Punching a punching bag burns 422 calories per hour in 155-pound people, according to Wisconsin. A 155-pound person sparring against an opponent for 16 hours during a month will lose about 3 pounds. The same person will lose about 2 pounds punching a punching bag for 16 hours.


Intensely exercising the same muscles on consecutive days impairs performance and increases injury risks. “Harvard Men’s Health Watch” estimates runners are 15 times more likely to get hurt exercising than walkers. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends doing different exercises each day. Runners can do exercises that strengthen their legs on days they don’t run. Boxers can run and jump rope every other day. Jumping rope ranks 11th on Harvard’s 158-activity list, burning 744 calories per hour in 155-pound people.

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