22nd January 2020

Find your new year Fighting Spirit with Boxing Fitness

Features Editor Felix Hanif-Banks talks to Fighting Spirit, a local organisation providing ‘boxercise’ classes to help physical fitness as well as mental wellbeing
Find your new year Fighting Spirit with Boxing Fitness

Christmas time is well and truly over but you’ll be forgiven for still feeling the fatigue, especially with relentless exams and deadlines not giving you a moment’s rest. New Year’s resolutions and that ‘New Decade, New Me’ mindset can get you in the gym for a while, but it’s only so long before motivation starts waning again. There’s no better way to get yourself motivated than diving into something new and helping a good cause, and Fighting Spirit have just the boxing fitness programme for you!

Fighting Spirit are a local organisation committed to providing an activity that can help physical fitness as well as mental wellbeing. Their programme of non-contact boxing fitness combined with a mental health resilience workshop covers a lot of ground in just over 2 hours, providing a well-rounded experience for anyone looking to get into the best shape they can.

The workshop has been set up to promote Manchester Mind, an independent local charity that has been supporting the area in mental health for 30 years, and Red January, a charity set up to encourage people to get active for a short time every day throughout January. The two charities have been working together with a number of fundraising events for 3 years now, and Red January say 87% of those who participate in their programme feel significantly better physically and mentally.

Boxing training, often referred to as ‘boxercise’, has fast become a popular method of exercise, with many seeing it as having similar potential to yoga in its reach. It’s undeniably effective, combining aerobic and anaerobic exercise and working out a broad range of muscle groups, working your legs, hips, back, shoulders and core, not just your arms.

Jessica Matthews, an exercise physiologist for the American Council on Exercise is full of praise for boxercise. “In addition to boosting your strength and cardio, boxing improves a number of skill-related parameters of fitness, including balance, coordination, reactivity, and agility,” she says.

Fighting Spirit’s boxing fitness programme is perfect for anyone looking for a new way to challenge themselves or bolster either physical or mental health. Any exercise will come with many mental health benefits, but an organisation specifically dedicating themselves to achieving that is refreshing, especially given the negative stereotypes that can surround boxing as being overly brutish.

Gwen Richards, founder of Fighting Spirit, set up the organisation after experiencing the positive benefits of boxing fitness for herself. She aimed to create a community of like-minded people who could act not only as training partners, but a support network within an area. Through open discussion, Gwen wanted to show mental health problems can be a universal experience and shouldn’t be shied away from.

Fighting Spirit’s Boxing Fitness Workshop is on the 28th January at 5.30pm in Zion Community Resource Centre, Stretford. Tickets can be found on Eventbrite for £18 along with all the necessary information for the session.

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