Boxing for a better outcome at Bupa Ashfield

A former professional boxer living at Bupa Ashfield Aged Care has reconnected with his past and started teaching boxing classes. The fitness trend has quickly taken off in the home, with carers and residents all pulling their gloves on to join the fun.

Boxing for fitness at Bupa Aged Care in Ashfield is an inter-generational project that is encouraging staff and residents to seek the skills and techniques of former professional boxer and resident, Michael Oliver.

Bupa Ashfield General Manager, Susie Carter said the fitness trend has no age limit as proven by the 62 year old who has many in the home wanting to get fit, pick up news skills and join in on the fun.

“This is a win-win innovation for our staff and residents, focussing on the fun of generational sharing and the value of personal connections while remaining to stay fit with boxing gloves and a bag,” Ms Carter said.

Traditionally, boxing isn't a sport that attracts too many older people but Mr Oliver said aged care residents are out to prove they're fighting fit.

“Boxing goes beyond throwing hands, these skills can save your life in an emergency situation. They’re also a stress reliever and a great way to keep fit which is why I like sharing my skills with everyone here,” Mr Oliver said.

Read more about the health benefits of boxing of boxing training for older Australians.

Aside from his obvious passion, he is also in possession of world class technique, perhaps partly due to his desire to emulate his idol Muhammad Ali.

“I am like majority of people and I look up to Muhammed Ali. He won the heavyweight title, was given every award imaginable, and featured in books and films. He was a bit too much with his mouth but that’s part of the game I guess.

“I was 10 years old when I started boxing in Highbury, London. At 13, I won the British Boxing National Amateur Championship which was easy enough for me to do back then.

“I like to see the cream in boxing, I like to see how good someone comes off. As a professional, you don’t usually get knocked to the ground on the streets so it is good to get in the ring and challenge yourself,” he said.

Aysha Charleston, Bupa Ashfield Lifestyle coordinator, knew how big a role boxing played in Michael’s life and said this was a great way for him and others to stay active.

“We bought Michael a boxing bag and a pair of gloves so he and others at the home can embrace fitness boxing which doesn’t include sparring but instead involves punching a bag and in the air so no one gets injured, but you get all the benefits,” Ms Charleston said.

The movement, rhythm, and precision required in boxing uses mental and physical coordination, which Bupa ANZ’s Medical Services Director, Dr Tim Ross said can help residents to stay fit in every sense of the word.

“The boxing stance strengthens your core, back and leg muscles while the punches strengthen your shoulders and arms. As an added bonus, for those of our residents who can stand, their balance is usually improved which reduces their risk of falling,” Dr Ross said.

“Exercise stimulates our residents both mentally and physically, which is great for those who have early or mild stages of dementia,” he said.

Read more stories from Bupa Aged Care