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Is Boxing Better Than Running?

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    Are you trying to stay fit this year, but not sure what exercise is best for you? Or maybe you’ve been exercising regularly, but are looking for a new challenge? Either way, you might be wondering whether boxing is better than running.

    Both exercises have their pros and cons, so let’s take a closer look at each one to see which might be the better choice for you.

    Is Boxing Better Cardio Training Than Running (Comparison)?

    When it comes to cardio training there are many different training exercises to try, and one of the best cardio trainings are boxing and running. But if we have time or will for only one of them, we have to ask ourselves, is boxing better cardio training than running?

    Both running and boxing are excellent cardio training, but while running is repetitive, boxing offers much more variety.

    Cardio boxing can be different than regular boxing in a way that you don’t have to fight to loose calories, get in shape, and do cardio training, also, you don’t have to have a black eye.

    Unlike running, it offers all kinds of elements, that are much more fun then repetitive running. From hitting the bag, shadowboxing, core exercising, jumping the rope, and so on.


    Running burns more calories than other exercises because it requires more effort. Runners are completely airborne during part of each stride. The impact of jumping and landing is punishing.

    “In just one mile, a typical runner’s legs will have to absorb more than 100 tons of impact force,” according to a “Harvard Men’s Health Watch” report. Runners must work hard to cope with this stress.

    Working hard increases heart rate, muscle activity, oxygen production and oxygen burned. You burn more calories when you burn more oxygen. Most people also work harder, and thus burn more calories, when they run faster.

    Running is also a continuous exercise that requires your heart and muscles to work constantly. Boxing can be very strenuous, but many boxing exercises aren’t continuous.

    Shadow Boxing Vs Running

    For those that hate it, it might be a lot easier to move around their living room shadow boxing for 30 minutes.

    Then there are those who live in sunny climates year round and have no problem doing a 5 or 10km run in the morning sun.

    The difference between the two is that Jogging is more Aerobic, meaning you can go for longer, fuelled by oxygen and shadow boxing is more anaerobic ie, it is more intense and burns more calories per minute.

    That being said it is easier to run for 30 minutes straight while it is going to be almost impossible to shadow box for 30 minutes straight, you need to break it up into rounds.

    Benefits Of Running

    If you are involved in running, the benefits of leg conditioning and aerobic system development.

    Builds The Aerobic Fitness

    Jogging is great steady state cardio for building up the aerobic engine.

    This is the base that can be used as the foundation for building the anaerobic conditioning needed for shadow boxing and boxing in general.

    Great For The Head

    Running is a great escape from the real world and allows you time to clear your head.

    Running for longer periods of time will release ‘Endorphins’ in the brain which are responsible for making us feel good.

    Its Progressive

    The more you do it, the better you get.

    male boxer training with punching bag dark sports hall

    Make sure to time yourself when you run and try to beat your 5km or 10km times every run and continually improve.

    Hills Can Really Build The Legs

    If you live in an area with hills, running up them will improve your fitness and build up the muscles in your calves and legs.

    Can Enter Local Runs

    Once you get into running, there should be plenty of local events to test yourself at and shoot for best ever times.

    It’s also a great way to meet people.

    Increase The Intensity For Extra Fat Burning

    Incorporating hill runs, Sprints and HIIT training can be an excellent way to increase the intensity and burn a lot more fat.

    Running is a great exercise for HIIT as you can incorporate sprints into a long distance run to make it a HIIT and burn more calories.

    Encourages Healthy Living

    You know you won’t be able to run after eating junk food so you eat healthily the morning of your run and after wards you don’t want all your work to go to waste so you make sure to keep your diet clean as well.

    Can Use A Treadmill

    If the weather is bad, you can always use a treadmill which will force you to keep a good pace with the machine and let you know how many calories you burned.

    The Faster You Go The More Calories You Burn

    As you get better, you should be able to run faster and burn more calories. You can even introduce sprints, hill sprints, hill runs and HIIT to get a more intense workout.


    Cold And Bad Weather

    Can be hard to get motivated in the bad weather or cold conditions of winter, but that shouldn’t stop you from getting out.

    Hard On The Knees

    Running is going to take it’s tole on the knees especially over time. Constantly pounding the pavement or treadmill is not going to be kind on your knees in the long term.

    Can Be Repetitive

    Best used as part of a healthy workout diet.

    Running the same route 3 times a week can get boring and repetitive, so much sure to mix it up as much as you can to keep it interested.



    Shadow Boxing

    Shadow boxing is a tool that is used by professional boxers everyday and is also a great way to get fit and lose weight.

    Benefits Of Shadow Boxing:

    It’s More Intense Than Running

    Shadow Boxing is more intense and anaerobic than running and that means that you can burn more calories, more quickly that running.

    It’s Great For Self Defense

    All of the great fighters place a high emphasis on shadow boxing for practicing their combinations and movement to visualizing success in the ring.

    Eve if you are not a pro fighter, Shadow boxing is a great way to improve at the sport and increase your ability to defend yourself along with boosting your confidence and self esteem.

    Great For Toning The Arms

    Everybody wants to have lean and ‘ripped’ arms and throwing air punches is one of the best ways to reduce the amount of fat deposits in the arms and shoulders, making them more lean.

    With Weights Or Without Weights

    If you do 10 – 3 minute rounds of shadowing boxing as a complete workout, you can do the first 5 with weights, do build up some muscle and endurance while burning a ton of calories and you can do the last 5 rounds with just your bare hands, focussing more on speed and combinations.

    As Part Of A Circuit

    There is no doubt that shadow boxing is best used in conjunction with other exercises, as part of a circuit or just with Burpees, Push Ups And Sit Ups at the end of each round.


    Very Repetitive On Its Own

    Just shadowboxing on its own will be very repetitive, especially seeing as you need about 10 rounds to get anywhere near a decent workout.

    You need to use Shadow Boxing as part of a full boxing workout.

    The Case For Both

    Since running builds the aerobic system and shadow boxing uses this foundation and adds to it with the anaerobic system, these are two exercises that fit hand in hand perfectly to get you good shape in general and for boxing.

    Boxing And Running Cardio Training Compared?

    Running For Cardio

    Running is a very effective way of doing cardio exercise, has a high effect on fat consumption, and improves cardiorespiratory capacity.

    The main feature of running is that with its high intensity it burns a large number of calories, and at the same time stimulates and accelerates the metabolic rhythm which remains accelerated for a long time after.

    For the purpose of burning fat, jogging could be considered a variation of running, given that this method (we can also call it higher-intensity aerobics) does not exceed the anaerobic limit at which carbohydrates become the primary source of fuel.

    Running includes thigh flexors, knee tendons, quadriceps, and gastrocnemius & soleus muscles making it a great exercise for the lower body. It also engages hand work, thus providing the added effect of burning calories.

    Boxing For Cardio

    There is no room in boxing for big, bloated muscles and excess fat. Boxing is popular because it is a sport that really requires a complete endurance system.

    Namely, when you decide to train boxing, the results are seen really quickly because the whole body works.

    Many mistakenly assume that in boxing everything focuses on the upper body and arm strength, but it is actually an exercise for the whole body. When turning for punches in the bag, the abdominal muscles are also activated. And of course, you stay agile as you turn around.

    shattered glass effect with female boxer

    Also, there is shadowboxing. It is used mainly to prepare the muscles before the person training engages in stronger physical activity. In shadowboxing, only one person is required to participate; the participant throws punches at no one in particular.

    Duration Of Boxing And Running Cardio Trainings

    It all depends on how good of the form you are. If you have already trained some sort of cardio exercise you will probably be able to do at least half an hour of them, and people that are already training well, they should go for an hour of cardio training (boxing or running).

    On the other hand, if you are complete begginer, I would suggest ‘simple’ & ‘easys’ way to get in cardio training. It applyes to any of these two high cardio exercise.

    Try to run or box (shadow or punching bag) for 5 minutes (it’s ok if you can’t do it, the principle is the same), then take a pause, if running, just walk for 5 minutes (or less if you think you can run for additional 5); while boxing, make a pause as well after 5 minutes, and again go walk around the gym, home, or wherever you are training for additional 5.

    Do this for a week, and then try to add at least one minute a week (if you can, try adding aditional 5), and increse till you think its right for you (at least half an hour would be desirable).

    In the start, we would suggest you to do any of these exercises 3 times a week.

    Boxing/Running Injuries

    All exercise carries with it potential injuries, the same goes for cardio running and boxing. Let’s see what are they and how to try to avoid them.

    Running Injuries

    Inconveniences, but also injuries are possible during one of the oldest recreational activities – running. Most of these injuries are not severe. These are most often mild bends, muscle strains, tendon strains, blisters.

    Runners are mostly injured when they go too far, and this is especially true with beginners, so be careful.

    Statistically, but also factually, the most common cause of injury is any of the following forms of exaggeration:

    • mileage (too large or sudden increase)
    • speeding
    • exaggeration in intensity
    • exaggerating in all of the above in order to achieve the (unrealistically) set goal as soon as possible

    All of these exaggerations are in fact mistakes in planning training, rich in mistakes. The body has its limits beyond which, without rest and the time needed to recover, one simply cannot go. This leads us to the conclusion that exaggeration actually boils down to neglecting the body’s need to rest, recover, and revitalize after strenuous workouts.

    If we train properly and if we give the body enough time to recover, the injury will not occur.

    Boxing Injuries

    Typical injuries in boxers (as well as in kickboxing, savate, MMA, Muay Thai, etc.) are various sprains (shifts) and cracks of the fingers and wrist with damage to the joint surfaces.

    One of the common injuries is an injury known as – boxing thumb. A boxing thumb injury is the result of repeated sprains of the thumb joint.

    Dislocation most often occurs due to poor technique when performing punches, but also a poorly placed bandage. Depending on the severity of the injury, the ability for work or sports activity will be only after one to two months for minor finger injuries and up to six months for some hand fractures.

    With a suitable bandage, good punching technique, and good gloves, injuries to the knuckles can be reduced.

    Running Statistics

    Running 5.5-minute miles is the top calorie-burning activity on Wisconsin’s list of 175 activities. It burns 1,553 calories per hour in 190-pound people, 1,267 calories per hour in 155-pound people and 1,062 calories per hour in 130-pound people.

    One pound equals 3,500 calories.

    A 155-pound person running 5.5-minute miles for an hour 16 times in a 31-day month will lose almost 6 pounds. Running six-minute miles is tied with bicycling more than 20 mph as the top calorie-burning activity on Harvard’s list of 158 activities.

    It burns 1,466, 1,228 and 990 calories per hour in 185-, 155- and 125-pound people. A 155-pound person running six-minute miles for an hour 16 times will lose about 5 1/2 pounds. Running eight-minute miles burns more calories than boxing in rings.

    Running 10-minute miles burns fewer calories than boxing in rings, but more calories than sparring, which burns the same amount of calories as running 11.5-minute miles, according to Harvard.

    Boxing Statistics

    Boxing in rings for one hour burns 1,035 calories in 190-pound people, 844 calories in 155-pound people and 708 calories in 130-pound people, according to Wisconsin.

    Bouts aren’t held regularly, though, so boxers should spar and punch punching bags to lose weight. Sparring burns 800, 670 and 540 calories per hour in 185-, 155- and 125-pound people, according to Harvard.

    Punching a punching bag burns 422 calories per hour in 155-pound people, according to Wisconsin. A 155-pound person sparring against an opponent for 16 hours during a month will lose about 3 pounds.

    The same person will lose about 2 pounds punching a punching bag for 16 hours.

    Cardio Boxing

    Cardio boxing classes are common in gyms and boxing clubs and cater to people of all athletic backgrounds. You'll learn basic footwork, how to throw punches and combinations and all the while, you'll burn calories.

    Because boxing includes constant movement with the upper and lower body, it's an effective way to burn calories. A 155-pound person will burn 335 calories in 30 minutes of sparring; even though cardio boxing isn't exactly sparring, it's essentially sparring without an opponent.


    Running is one of the simplest ways to burn calories, and because you can tailor your speed to your level of athleticism, it's ideal for a wide range of people.

    If a 155-pound person runs at 5 miles per hour for 30 minutes, she'll burn 298 calories, which is slightly less than cardio boxing for the same duration. But if that person can maintain a speed of 6 or 7.5 miles per hour, she'll burn 372 or 465 calories, respectively, in 30 minutes.


    If you're trying to choose whether to take up cardio boxing or running, consider how close you are to a gym or boxing club that offers a cardio class.

    If traveling to a class is a significant time investment, running might be a favorable option.

    Regardless of where you live, running is a low-maintenance activity that doesn't require any expense other than a reliable pair of shoes.

    If you're interested in both exercises, include cardio boxing and running in your weekly workout regimen to lessen the chance of either activity becoming stale.


    If you have sore joints, determining an activity's impact is important. Although people can wear cushioned shoes and adjust their stride to lessen the impact during running, this activity can have a considerable impact to your joints, which is less than ideal if you have pain.

    Cardio boxing requires plenty of movement, but because boxing has little to no impact to your leg joints, this activity can be favorable for some people.

    Conclusion – Which Is Better Cardio Training Boxing Or Running

    As you can see from above, both these trainings are amazing for cardio, weight loss and building lean muscles.

    The main difference is that running is mostly repetitive, while boxing offers various and fun techniques that you can change almost in every training. But, it has to be said, some people just love running.

    1. Find a gym. Boxing gyms aren't typically found in the yellow pages, but there are resources on the internet that can lead you in the right direction. ...
    2. Be sure the gym is within striking distance. ...
    3. Be open-minded. ...
    4. Choose your coach carefully. ...
    5. Do judge the gym by its cover.

    So, can boxing be self-taught? Boxing can be self-taught but it's not the quickest and most effective way to become better at the sport because you aren't able to tap into the knowledge of a boxing coach who would be able to help you one to one.

    Best Age to Start

    Specialists in sports medicine believe that boxing classes are better to start from 9-10 years. Starting too early could result in putting the student off, as boxing is hard work and not always as fun as team sports, such as football or rugby.

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