If you’ve ever passed by a boxing studio, you know the sport can look intimidating. The punching. The grunting. The sweating. Cooper Fitness Center Boxing Pro Derrick James believes reasons like this prevent people from giving the sport a go.

“In the beginning, a lot of clients say boxing looks so grueling that they’re afraid to try it,” says James. “I think they’re scared they’ll get so tired, they won’t be able to finish the session.”

Yet, James says, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Boxing is a sport he says can be tailored to all ages and of great benefit no matter your fitness level. To prove his point, he breaks down some of the most common myths he hears both inside and outside the ring.

MYTH: Boxing is only for “tough guys”

This comment is perhaps one of the most common James hears and his response is always the same.

“Sure, I work with professional boxers, but I also work with kids, seniors, people with Parkinson’s disease, mothers and fathers,” says James. “My boxing sessions are tailored for each individual and their fitness needs.”

James says he is constantly monitoring his clients throughout the workout, asking them how they’re feeling and insisting they stop for water breaks when needed.

“Once they get over that intimidation factor and see how good it feels to punch, they’re hooked,” says James.

MYTH: 30 minutes isn’t a long enough workout

5Most of James’ boxing sessions are 30 minutes long, but in that time, James says his clients are constantly moving.

“Within that time, we’ll probably jog a half mile, do some work on the stairs, ride the stationary bike and spar,” says James. “This sport keeps you moving and keeps you motivated.”

James adds the calories burned in 30 minutes of boxing are more than you’d get jogging on a treadmill.

In fact, a Harvard University study shows a 155-pound person burns an average of 298 calories during a 30-minute run. Compare that to a 30-minute boxing session, which burns an average of 335 calories.

MYTH: It’s not a full-body workout

You may be punching with your arms, but one punch fires up almost every muscle in your body. When you throw a punch, you’re using power from your hips and legs. Each hit also targets your back, shoulders and core. Boxing can help tone your body from head to toe.

“Boxing is all about toning, not bulking,” says James. “This is a sport that helps lean you out. Weight lifting is for gaining muscle. If you look at professional boxers, they’re strong but lean.”

You’re also constantly moving, which helps make the sport extremely aerobic. Not only is the sport beneficial for your body, James says it can also have a powerful impact on brain health.

“Boxing helps with your cognitive skills, depth perception, balance and coordination,” says James. “It’s also an extremely empowering sport. It makes you feel like you can protect yourself should the need arise.”

In addition, it’s a great way to destress. Relieving stress can lower your blood pressure and make you feel happier─all the more reason to get inside the ring.

To schedule a session with James or to learn more about boxing programs available, visit cooperfitnesscenter.com.