There is no question that the best New Year’s wish is for good health.Wealth, prosperity and success are meaningless unless you have your health.There are very few things in life that money cannot buy.Two of them are love and health.A wise-guy friend of mine said, “I will wish you the best of all wishes and that is HAPPINESS”.When I thought about it,happinessis a state of mind which is a product of what must be achieved to attain it. Good health and a passionate love life make people happy.The secret to a passionate love life is a topic for another day.But the secret to good health is our topic for discussion today.Diet and exercise, a mantra shouted out by doctor and patient alike, rich and poor, healthy and the sickly, young and old, male and female, is the secret to good health.I am not a doctor or dietician and I am not qualified to give healthcare advice.I am simply expressing what I have personally experienced and what I have observed.With regard to diet, I will share the advice of my doctor who is a cardiologist.Many foods are bad for you but foods which are high in sugars and starches are the worst foods to eat. That is about all I can say about diet which brings us to exercise, a topic I have a better knowledge of.
For those of us who live a sedentary lifestyle and cannot get adequate exercise on our own, a good alternative is to join a boxing gym.Boxing as a sport is enjoying a resurgence because of the popularity of pound for pound king, Manny Pacquiao.Many boxing and MMA (mixed martial arts) gyms have been sprouting up all over the country.These gyms offer programs in boxing, cardio-kickboxing, Brazilian Jujitsu, Muay Thai and mixed martial arts.If an individual just wants to get back in shape, I recommend a boxing gym as opposed to an MMA gym.My observation is that many Karate, Tae-kwondo and Kung-fu schools have gone out of business or have converted their dojos into boxing or yoga schools.This is because a Karate school can charge as much as $250 a month which does not even include the extra fees for testing and promotions.Whereas a boxing club, with a trained boxing instructor may charge only $75 a month, the same as the membership fee to a health club.
Once you have decided, first thing to do is to consult your physician to make sure you are healthy enough for this type of exercise and say that you are planning to join a boxing gym.If your doctor gives you the go signal, locate a gym that is convenient to you.If the gym is many miles out of your way, you may use that as an excuse not to drag your butt to the gym during those lazy winter days.Take a complimentary introductory class.Do not be intimidated just because it’s boxing.A good trainer will immediately know your limitations and will modify some of the exercises to your ability.The required equipments are hand wraps, boxing gloves and a pair of cross-training shoes.For the ladies, it is important to find a good sports bra.The instructor will start by showing you how to properly wrap your hands.The warm up session begins with a 5 minute stretching exercises followed by 3 rounds of 3-minute jump-rope workout with a 1 minute interval in between which the instructor may utilize for shadow boxing, jumping jacks, push ups, sit ups and squats.After the warm up you will put on your gloves and the session will move on to boxing instructions which may include working on your footwork, punching the heavy bag, hitting the speed bag or a partner’s mitts.In general, the boxing exercises are for duration of 3-minute rounds with a 1 minute interval in between rounds.A good trainer will not let you just stay idle during the one minute rest but will keep making you move with push ups, sit ups or jumping jacks.A good trainer will be keenly observing you in order to detect your physical state and will not push you to the point of passing out.It is normal for a trainer to yell out encouraging words to keep you going but not to swear at you or to embarrass you in front of the class like a drill sergeant may do. Run the other way should you encounter such a trainer.A good trainer does not include sparring for beginners.Sparring is only for advanced students.
There are 4 primary punches in boxing, jab, cross, hook and uppercut.In the boxing gym, for the orthodox boxer,these punches are numbered, 1 for a jab, 2 for a cross, 3 for a left hook, 4 right hook, 5 left uppercut and 6 right uppercut.For a southpaw, the number designations are for the opposite hand.The instructor may tell you to hit the heavy bag with just one-twos for the entire 3-miniute round, which means jab-cross, jab-cross.For the next round he may say 1-2, 5-2, and so on with various combinations.A good gym should be playing upbeat music throughout the duration of the class.After all “You Light up My Life” is not conducive to a good work out session.For the ladies, there is a benefit in joining a coed class instead of an all-girl session.But I am sure many of you will complain of the funky odor, the kind most prevalent in boys’ locker rooms.It is a small price to pay for playing with the big boys.
In summary, everyone’s New Year’s resolution should be to mold yourself into a better and healthier you.Whether you are a man or a woman, young or old, if your doctor determines that you are healthy enough for this type of exercise, why not do it?Why, even Aunt Ethel who will be 60 years young this year enrolled in a boxing club 6 months ago.She was 50 lbs. above her ideal weight but has lost 30 lbs. since.She said boxing training is addictive, she does not miss a class, and she pushes herself to the point where adrenaline and determination takes over and she just cruises on auto pilot.I must admit she looks great and several gentlemen who have asked her out must think so too.
This article is not intended to provide medical advice. Please consult your healthcare professional before acting on any advice provided herein.
Any opinions and views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the writer.
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