Boxing and other combat sports may help treat anxiety and depression


Countless studies have linked physical activity to help lower levels of anxiety, depression and stress. Everything from weight training, HIIT, yoga and running can help improve how you feel.

I’ve been doing Jiu Jitsu for almost 2 years now and it’s helped me a great deal with my anxiety. It pushes me to my limits, it takes me out of my comfort zone, and it’s built new group of support and friendships for me.

3 months ago I started boxing and it has become my new way to help me deal with my anxiety and my mental health. It also gets me out with some friends, it gets me moving, it gets my heart rate high, it hits me with a huge rush of endorphins, and it lets me punch things, which is FUN!

“(Boxing) Classes can help to relieve symptoms of anxiety and depression by focusing the mind and body in the present moment and taking people away from ruminating thoughts or worries. It provides a source of distraction as individuals engage with a fun activity that they look forward to and make new friends in the sociable and supportive group setting. Boxing instills a sense of achievement, building confidence and self-esteem. Classes provide a controlled and safe environment to release any frustration, stress and anger. Boxing encourages a healthier lifestyle, which benefits physical and mental wellbeing, sleep, eating, and self-care and compassion.” – Counselling and sport psychologist Jennifer Carter, PhD

11% of Americans are on some form of anti-depressant (that’s 36 million people). Studies show that the family of drugs that get prescribed for depression only work 40% of the time, compared to 30% of the time a placebo works. That’s only a 10% difference between prescribed drugs and sugar pills…

In my experience and opinion, doctors and psychiatrists need to start prescribing a healthy diet and exercise and fitness routines to help with depression, instead of just pushing pills. I’m not saying that anti-depressants don’t or can’t work, but there are so many studies out now that show that aerobic exercise and weight training aids in relieving depression, and that a healthy diet can cure anxiety. These should be focal points in helping ratify mental illness.

As someone who suffers from extreme anxiety daily, my mental health is extremely important to me, and speaking about it makes me feel better. In speaking openly about my mental health I’m also hoping that it helps inspire other men to open up and speak freely about their mental health. Mental health isn’t a weakness, and being able to talk about it makes you stronger.

“I’m not ashamed to say I’m mentally ill, but that doesn’t mean I’m mentally weak.” – Robin Lehrer, NY Islanders

Globally, every minute, a man dies by suicide. In Canada, 75% of suicides are men. Help end the stigma.


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