I was brought up to be or at least try to be a lady at all times. This meant being polite and mannerly, never swearing and never engaging in activities that were not deemed ladylike such as soccer, wrestling or boxing.
I think I did well in the most part and only dabbled in soccer in the secondary five-a-side team for a bit. The brevity of my soccer career was more to do with the fact that I was atrocious at it as opposed to trying pleasing my mother!
However, I am all grown up now and have learned that there are certain sports/hobbies of the more rigorous variety but are popular because they get results and so I recently decided to try a boxing exercise class at the gym.
We’ve all admired the raw determination, conviction and skill of Sylvester Stallone in the Rocky movies and I used to hope that one day I could emulate the fitness and drive of the hero as he ran up those steps, so I decided to give boxing a go.
I was handed an enormous pair of gloves and tentatively slipped my hands in to them like a contestant in I’m A Celebrity – not quite sure what was inside or who had used them before me but I steeled myself and strapped up.
My trainer started with an overview of the basic boxing and kick-boxing moves – punches, jabs, ducks, dives, roundhouse, hooks and so on - always remembering to return your hands to the protective position of covering your face.
I then moved on to punching the pads he had on each hand. I started with ginger little swipes in his direction, more afraid of hurting him than me, but OUCH it did hurt. I was expecting the gloves to cushion me but had not listened carefully enough when he told me to tighten up my wrists as I punched.
I tried again and again and again and soon found that not only was I making contact with the pads, I was getting more forceful and quite frankly enjoying it! I had no idea just how therapeutic it was going to be.
We then moved on to kick-boxing. This was a lot harder and challenged my balance in particular, not to mention myshins and ankles. As I kicked, twirled, stepped back and swirled my legs in the direction of the bag hanging from the roof, I once again found myself truly enjoying the stress-busting qualities of it all.
For co-ordination, agility, pace, stamina, endurance and calorie-burning, this is one hell of a workout and I can see why it’s been a favourite of athletes, celebrities and keep-fit enthusiasts for hundreds of years.
Now I’m going to root out the pink boxing glove set my fiancé bought me a few years ago and practise on him!
For more information see www.migym.ie
Elaine Roddy is Director of Buzz PR see www.buzzpr.ie