Patricia Yarberry Allen, M.D. is a Gynecologist, Director of the New York Menopause Center, Clinical Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Weill Cornell Medical College, and Assistant Attending Obstetrician and Gynecologist at New York-Presbyterian Hospital. She is a board certified fellow of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Dr. Allen is also a member of the Faculty Advisory Board and the Women’s Health Director of The Weill Cornell Community Clinic (WCCC). Dr. Allen was the recipient of the 2014 American Medical Women’s Association Presidential Award.

By Patricia Yarberry Allen

It is hard to find something that is good for the butt, brain biochemistry, balance both physical and spiritual, bra fat, back fat and burning off all those holiday calories.  I have found a new exercise program that does all this and more. 

Boxing…that’s right, fighting.  I have been boxing with PJ for weeks now and am addicted to this boxing workout.  I tried boxing in the fall of 2007 when I got really mean and lean for my 60th birthday but I really stopped exercising in 2008.  This was a year where there was constant work, too much sorrow and no energy for exercise.  After Thanksgiving, I entered the ring again and have been working out to improve my muscle tone and balance, my aerobic capacity, my health and my mood. I do other kinds of exercise but boxing is certainly my favorite.

I like any sport that involves new gear if it’s not too expensive.  I have fabulous Valentino Red Boxing Gloves made by Everlast.  Boxing gloves are sized by how much they weigh in ounces, not by finger length or palm size, so one size fits all.  The gloves range in size from 8-16 ounces, increasing in increments of 2 ounces. 

Focus mitts are held by the trainer or your partner.  These come in one size fits all as well.  Everlast makes the mitts as well, as does Fairtex (whose gloves and mitts are made in Thailand and I am told are prized for the quality of the leather). And no outfit is complete without shoes (mine also come from Everlast).

I started with the great instructional video  “Everlast Boxing Beginner Instructional Video Boxing Workout”.  (There are other such videos made by Steeleboxer, Rossboxing and, though I can't vouch for them.) Soon I learned from PJ the following essentials:
Warm up. Jump rope. Proper stance. Master the jab. Power punch and combinations. Always end with a stretch and cool down.

PJ has also taught me to:

Jab with my left hand and cross with my right hand
Hook —stretching forcefully across the body to knock your opponent in the chin and knock him out
Upper cut – this works the arms and latissimus dorsi, those pesky lats, and the illusive rear delts, and meanwhile it's another nifty way to get under the chin to knock your opponent out! The chin is apparently a very sensitive part of the body if you want to knock someone out.  Who knew?


Boxing is really hard work.  “Going up the hill and coming down the hill” with rapid fire jab and cross moves, along with fine feet work: that is a hell of an aerobic workout.  I finish with rapid fire punching using jabs and crosses.  I began with 30 seconds of this and can now do it for 90 seconds.  Doesn’t sound like very long?  Try it.

If you add other martial arts into your routine, balance, leg strengthening and endurance are all improved.

Fantasy is a big part of my Walter Mitty life so I get into the right mood for boxing with no trouble.  Just like poor Mr. Mitty, I don’t get out much, so this opportunity to be a contender is impossible for me to resist.  I see myself fighting back from sloth, fighting off gluttony, fighting in Madison Square Garden.

As I am boxing, I imagine that I am wearing a special form fitting body suit like those worn by superheroes, only my colors will be those of our own orange and white.  I am suddenly fighting for The New Menopause! 

I think you get the general idea of hubris and narcissism that drives me generally and certainly has found a home in this new workout. So if you feel like fighting back from the holidays, and getting into shape for the New Year, put on the gloves and go get ‘em champ! Find your own enemies to conquer and focus on the chin.

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