It’s not a shopping mall, supermarket or even a shoe store that has local women of all ages buzzing. It’s the ring in Springfield Township...as in boxing ring.
That’s right, women from their 20s to 60s are getting hot and sweaty dancing their way to fitness in high-energy workouts, not by hitting the dance floor, but by hitting the punching bag and dancing around the ring in boxing classes at the Healthplex Sports Club.
“I think women like the boxing classes because they are getting a great workout and it helps with stress relief and they are building some self-esteem and self-confidence,” said Taylor Luthultz, Fitness Supervisor and Instructor at the Healthplex Sports Club.
The boxing training program, which started just this year, is gaining in popularity, particularly among women. It offers participants a mix of exercise benefits in several areas including: cardio, weight loss, flexibility and overall conditioning.
“In class, we will do warm-ups, jumping rope and shadow-boxing just to make sure they know how to make their punches properly and we do ab work too,” said Andrew J. Urion, Boxing Instructor and Trainer at Healthplex Sports Club. “They get to hit the mitts, hit the bags and we work around the ring and we do some footwork.
"Women love to hit stuff. Once they get the gloves on and begin hitting and making contact, they love it.”
And that may be the key, the opportunity to hit and punch, that draws women to boxing in an exercise world filled with so many workout choices and options, according to Urion, who has been boxing for nearly 15 years.
“Initially, women are drawn to the fitness aspect of the boxing workout. But once they get the gloves on and actually hit something, they begin to see it as stress-relief,” said Urion.
“It’s a huge stress-reliever for women and it helps with eye-hand coordination and they start burning fat and calories. One hour in a boxing-class and they can typically burn 800 to one thousand calories. It’s a great workout.”
One woman participant, Duitch (a family name pronounced Diche) Sloane, a Healthplex member for nearly eight years, originally joined the boxing classes because the regimen provided relief from boredom and the pain she has suffered following several orthopaedic injuries.
“I am a person who enjoys exercise of all kinds and my injuries make it necessary for me to remain active so I can continue to walk,” said Sloane.
“You can imagine that after taking a lot of exercise classes, you get bored. And I took different classes, including ‘Body Combat’ which includes some shadow-boxing and I said to someone that I wanted to know if I was doing the punching the right way, and they told me about these boxing classes. So, I took a private lesson with Andrew and was immediately hooked,” said Sloane, an actress and singer from Media.
“It was the most demanding workout I’ve ever done. It works your whole body with cardio, hand-eye coordination, internal core and stress reduction like nobody’s business,” exclaimed Sloane.
Sloane credits the stress relief benefits to the focus needed to throw a punch and hit the punching bag.
“I think that by focusing your energies, that is where the stress relief comes from. Everything comes together and you are putting all of your mind and physical abilities and focus into one spot on the bag and by just punching it out, the aggression, the stress and everything else just goes away.”
Whether it’s for stress relief, weight loss or just boredom with other exercise programs, for individuals who are interested, but are not sure if boxing is the right workout for them, Taylor Luthultz, Fitness Supervisor and Instructor at the Healthplex Sports Club suggests small group training.
“Small-group training is a newer trend in the fitness industry and it enables people who might be interested in personal training but may not have the funds, time or aren’t sure if they want to commit to a personal trainer one-to-one to have the opportunity to join and try it in a small group setting,” said Luthultz.
Strange as it may sound, the interest in boxing, particularly among women, is not just physical. It is part mental. Some individuals enjoy searching for new challenges, new opportunities to grow and want to learn new skills.
“You have to challenge yourself, not only physically, but mentally and learn new things and try new areas,” said Sloane, of her boxing aspirations and achievements.
“A lot of the way that you stay young, is to keep moving,” Sloane said, with a smile.
The boxing workouts at the Healthplex Sports Club offer various training options including one-on-one, two-on-one (buddy training) and small group sessions (max of six). Classes are held weekly and there is “open-room” time on Wednesday evenings.
For more information visit: www.healthplex.net, or call (610) 328-8888.