Sports historian and Huddersfield University lecturer PETER DAVIES looks at a type of boxing that anybody can try at Huddersfield Sports Centre

WEST END actress Claire Sweeney swears by it, TV personality Myleene Klass claims it’s the perfect antidote to junk food and Huddersfield’s very own Zoe Lucker has included it in her new fitness video.

Welcome to Boxercise!

“It’s taken off as a type of workout,” said Sue Teale, 31, fitness manager at Huddersfield Sports Centre. “We’ve been putting on classes for nearly four years. The beauty of it is that anybody can do it!”

Experts say that Boxercise has special attributes as a fitness workout.

It’s excellent for upper body conditioning and exercising the arms, abs, chest and shoulders.

Furthermore, it is good for the lower body and increases general fitness levels.

Sue, who grew up in Brockholes, said: “Boxercise is a very social thing. It helps people get rid of aggression and leaves a decent sweat. It’s great for all-round fitness and is a fantastic calorie-burner. Anyone can do it – of any age or ability.

“You don’t have to have any experience in boxing and you can work at it hard or easy. There are around 30 people in our Boxercise class – around half and half, men and women.”

Boxercise can be defined as a fitness class which incorporates a number of boxing moves and techniques without the physical contact.

Today there are more than 900 Boxercise clubs in the UK with 1,500 qualified instructors.

And one estimate is that around 35,000 participate in Boxercise classes on a regular basis.

According to the people who invented the trademarked workout: “Boxercise began in the UK in 1992, based upon training principles that have existed for 200 years.

“We train fitness instructors to teach the public Boxercise, running over 300 training courses a year at 18 different venues in Europe. In the UK alone, over 1.2 million people take part in Boxercise classes.

“The Boxercise course has developed age-old training principles and adapted them to form a fun, addictive, safe, stress-busting workout suitable for all ages and levels of ability.

“We also produce CDs, DVDs, Boxercise-branded clothing and boxing equipment.”

So now, 16 years old, this particular workout looks as if it’s here to stay.

It has an all-round appeal and is gaining more and more converts.

A BBC guide sums up the attraction of Boxercise: “Who is it for? It’s certainly not just for men. It’s actually popular with both men and women. Men are usually put off aerobics classes because they’re worried about their lack of co-ordination.

“Here there is a level of co-ordination, but it’s restricted to boxing movements.

“Women love it too. The only thing you actually punch are pads and it’s a great way of toning your body and letting off steam at the same time.

“Which sports is it good for? Boxing, rugby, cricket, rowing and all sports which require a good upper body strength.

“Is Boxercise done to music? Yes, the classes are done in time to popular music songs and include work with pads and speedballs along with circuit training and skipping.”

Back at Huddersfield Sports Centre, Boxercise instructor Paul Dunn, 23, explains how he got into it.

He said: “I’m from Ripon in North Yorkshire, but I studied for my degree in Sport and Exercise Studies at Huddersfield.

“And I’ve now started an MSc at Leeds Met.

“I’ve been teaching Boxercise for four years – in North Yorkshire and around Huddersfield. There are different workouts.

“It’s intense but it’s a great stress-reliever!”

Boxercise can also boast glamorous celebrity endorsements.

Huddersfield actress Zoe Lucker – Tanya from Footballers’ Wives – has included it in her new Little Black Dress Workout DVD.

This features “five pick ’n’ mix workouts including dance, Boxercise and yoga.

Her aim is a simple one – to “lose a stone and fit into that ‘little black dress’ in time for summer parties.”

The DVD incorporates five varied 10-minute routines – to stave off boredom.

According to Zoe: “You can mix ’n’ match or just do one section.”

One online reviewer said: “This DVD is loads of fun to do and tones and makes your body fit really well! Since I bought this DVD I’ve actually been able to get out of bed in the morning and get straight into it.”

Another states: “It’s a nicely structured workout with the five short sessions giving you lots of variety.

“The box and tone sections are very effective and definitely the most challenging.”