Boxing is a powerful and beautiful sport. It’s also a dangerous one. According to Fightland, there were more than 5,000 boxing fatalities in the United States in 2017 — that’s 1 every 28.1 seconds. If you’re a boxing fan, you already know that the risks are high and the rewards few. But new research into the effects of boxing on our bodies might change all that. A team of scientists recently discovered that fighters who went professional as children have elevated levels of a potent antioxidant found in our liver known as ß-hydroxybutyrate (SHBG), which is normally low in adults because we don’t produce it during adult years. In fact, SHBG is only produced by adults after they’ve stopped exercising regularly or have a history of diabetes or other conditions that make our livers less efficient at making SHBG. So when you consider how many boxers die young from heart disease and other factors beyond their control, it makes sense why some turn to this particular form of training to achieve fitness goals faster: There’s more potential for them to turn pro earlier than other adults and stay fit longer before getting back into the ring again!
What can boxing do for your body?
When a young adult applies themselves physically and mentally to becoming a professional boxer, they turn into a highly trained athlete. They can run, lift, throw, block, and punch at super human levels. The only downside of this is that it’s very difficult for them to recover from the sport once they’ve done it.
How to take care of your body while you’re training
With the amount of hours you’ll be spending in the ring and the amount of energy you’ll be expending, it’s important to prepare your body for what it’s going to experience. To help your body absorb more nutrients and avoid nutrient deficiencies, it’s a good idea to eat a healthy, balanced diet while you’re training. There are lots of ways to go about this—opt for a simple, healthy breakfast and lunch, instead of a high-fat, high-cholesterol dinner. When you’re not eating well, your body will begin to break down proteins and fats more quickly, putting you at an increased risk of developing conditions like diabetes.
What boxing can do to help fight disease
Many professional boxers go to great lengths to stay disease-free. They adopt healthy lifestyles, get enough sleep, and maintain a strong work schedule so that they can focus on training without getting sick or too exhausted. When a young fighter starts to get into fighting shape, he’s got even more incentive to go the extra mile to protect himself from diseases such as HIV, HBV, HCW, etc. It’s estimated that about 60 percent of HIV-positive boxers have suppressed their immune system long enough to become HIV-negative, making them safer to infect others with the disease. In fact, the study authors believe that the higher rate of infection among boxers can be explained by the increased exposure to infection among high-risk individuals—boxers are more likely to have contact with other boxers who are also at an increased risk of infection.
What happens once you’re trained and ready to fight?
Once you’ve decided to become a professional fighter, the path to success is long and often filled with frustration and doubt. You have to take rigorous lessons, train hard, and fight your way through the ranks to get to the pros. You have to do it right the first time because if you do, you’ll be one step closer to becoming a world-class boxer. But what you don’t know can hurt you, and that’s what the new research from the University of Western Ontario is trying to change. By analyzing data from more than 10,000 boxers from around the world, the authors identified common factors among highly successful boxers. Using a complex algorithm developed for the project, they were able to discover what type of training is effective for achieving high levels of fitness and then compare these findings to the success rates of other sports.
The long-term health effects of boxing
The sport of boxing is pretty much dead since the rise of the Internet. There’s no compelling reason to keep fighting a fight that’s almost unbeatable online. But while the science behind boxing is fascinating, it’s also important to remember that it has a serious downside. The combination of high stakes, physical and emotional exertion, and limited recovery time can lead to significant health risks. When you’re training hours a day, you’re putting yourself at a significant risk of developing conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. These risks are higher among people who haven’t trained regularly or who have a family history of a disease. Most notably, there’s a chance that your professional boxing career will end in death or a career-ending injury. If you take those risks, you also take a serious risk of developing conditions that might eventually affect your health and quality of life. Ultimately, the benefits of becoming a professional boxer far outweigh the risks. But you have to take the steps to success responsibly, and that includes having your health and fitness top priority.
- What else needs to be considered?
Besides the risks associated with training as a professional boxer, there are also a few things you should keep in mind before accepting the challenge. First, make sure you can handle the workload. The more serious the sport, the more you have to deal with both physiologically and mentally. And, as mentioned above, your health and fitness have to be top-notch. Your diet, sleep schedule, and use of sleep medications must be in check to optimize your performance and protect your body from damage.
- The end results
The rewards of becoming a professional boxer far outweigh the risks. If you choose to pursue this path, the new research suggests that you do so under the right circumstances and with the right training.