Boxing isn’t just a way to fight competitively in a ring. Not everyone wants to knock somebody out, and it can definitely do some damage to the brain, but boxing for fun at home is a great way to keep fit. In fact, it provides many physical and mental health benefits, with various boxing combinations that can improve strength, balance, brain functioning, hand-eye coordination, and more.

Boxing involves nearly every part of your body, as Harvard Medical School notes. Here’s how practicing at home can help you stay fit.

Improving Cardiovascular Health

As boxing requires using many muscles all at the same time, your heart must work harder. Punching forces them to contract at once, and the heart must pump more blood and oxygen to them.

As you’re also moving around constantly, the combination is great for cardiovascular health. As a result, it provides other benefits, including a lower resting heart rate, optimal blood pressure levels, and reducing the risk of heart disease.

Strengthening the Bones and Joints

While you might be thinking more about stronger muscles, strong bones and joints are important too, especially as you grow older. As you age, your bones get weaker, which is why it’s essential to do exercise that works on keeping them strong to decrease the risk of broken bones and degenerative diseases like osteoporosis.

Boxing is a weight-bearing exercise as you’re bouncing around, putting weight on your legs. Each time you strike, your shoulders, elbows, and the rest of your arms have weight against them as well, functioning much the same way. The more weight put on your bones, the more they produce bone mass.

Building Muscle

Building muscle is one of the more obvious benefits of boxing as you engage many different muscles from the abs to your arms and shoulders while performing various punches. When you’re in a boxer’s couch, that wide stance with the knees slightly bent, it works your legs, back, and core muscles too.

Burning Calories

All that cardio exercise and muscle building means you’re burning a lot of calories, so if you’re doing a few boxing workouts every week and need to lose weight, it’s likely to help you achieve your goal. And, if you’re already trim and fit, hoping to stay that way, it will aid in maintaining your current weight.

Depending on your gender and size, you could burn anywhere from 400 to 800 calories an hour. If you need to lose weight, aim to keep it more low impact to reduce pressure on your knees, such as slower jab-cross motions and lower kicks.

Stress Relief

You probably know that exercise provides great stress relief, which means boxing has that ability too, but how can it keep you fit? By focusing on this physical task, including the rhythms of the movement, it takes your mind off your worries, providing many of the same benefits of meditation, providing a sense of calm and clarity.

In turn, that helps to lower cortisol levels in the body, a stress hormone that’s known to contribute to weight gain and many other health problems. Plus, you’re likely to experience increased feelings of well-being that help you stay motivated to stick with your boxing workouts.