Get Set to Box!

Our Get Set to Go physical activity project has been having boxing sessions at Natural Progression Boxing Academy with coach Imran for over a year.

Natural Progression Boxing Academy is an ABA registered boxing academy, situated in the heart of Stockton and last week saw Get Set to Go participants complete another fantastic taster session. The Academy has 17 years’ worth of training behind its belt and trains people from the ages of 5 up to professional athletes. Their current oldest member is 60 years old.

Our sessions with Coach Imran include warm ups, instruction on the correct stance, balanced movement, work with pads and gloves and punch bags. The sessions are varied and fun with both men and women attending, we don’t get in the ring and fight each other by the way! Last week’s session concluded with Imran telling us about some of the great fighters adorning the gym walls and how they had overcome adversity to be successful in boxing and their lives.

Boxing is a fun and enjoyable sport and is suitable people with different ability and fitness levels. Besides all the physical health benefits, boxing can also be great for your mental health, some of our service users have classed boxing as the ‘perfect workout’. When you box, your body releases phenylethylamine, a chemical which helps improve your mood.

Boxing keeps you balanced while releasing tension and stress in your body and if you have issues managing anger, boxing is a great way to get rid of any aggression you have built up. It allows you to release those energies by taking your anger and any stress out on the punch bag or pads during your workout.

Boxing can get you excited about learning something new and as you concentrate on throwing the perfect punch outside stresses are left behind. It’s great for increasing confidence, improving self-esteem and meeting other people.

We asked last week’s participants to complete a short questionnaire before and after the session, here is a sample of the responses….

What has stopped you from trying boxing previously?

‘Worried that everyone would be very experienced and not open to newcomers’
‘I was embarrassed to walk in on my own’
‘Not knowing what to expect’
‘The gym being too busy with no other girls’
‘Not being fit enough’
‘It’s too competitive’
‘Meeting new people, I get anxious in groups’

How are you feeling before the session today?

‘I’m feeling tired with low motivation’
‘Anxious about the unknown, the people, the gym and the activity’
‘Stressed with traffic and parking’
‘Lacking motivation but hoping the session makes me feel better’

How did you find the session today and would you come back?

‘Excellent, yes I would come back’
‘Yes definitely I really enjoyed it’
‘Yes, Amazing’
‘Brilliant’ yes’

What was the best thing about the session?

‘Learning about the positions and how to do the different punches’
‘Everything was good, all of it’
‘The punch bag and working with my partner’
‘Informative and fun’
‘Punching the bags’

Would you recommend boxing to people with mental health issues and why?

‘Yes, because it can help people to release pent up stress and help them to relax’
‘Yes, it releases endorphins and has relieved my stress’
‘Its good fun’
‘It helps you get fit and meet more people’
‘It’s an excellent way to exercise, I felt very energetic afterwards, and it’s been a good release of energy and stress

Our Get Set to Go programme aims to improve the quality of life of anyone with a mental health problem through access to sport and physical activity in the local community.

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