LONG BEFORE I MET Valerian I took up boxing training at All Stars Boxing Club in London in my thirties and later qualified as a Level 1 boxing coach.
Valerian Spicer started her amateur boxing career in her thirties but went on to compete in World Championships and two editions of the Commonwealth Games. She finished her career at Gold Coast 2018 soon after having her son, Hamish.
I first met her at my book launch just over a year ago and again when I interviewed her on the Super-Ageing Wellness radio show. She said: “I made the most of the opportunities and I’m proud when I look back at the things I have achieved.” Valerian has collaborated with Psychologist and Addiction Therapist, Andy Cole, to develop the Spicer Method (https://www.valerianspicer.fitness) – a programme of physical fitness and positive psychology based upon a storyboard of lessons from Valerian’s career as an elite athlete.
The restrictions of social distancing prompted Valerian and Andy to take the Spicer Method online, with a specific focus on shadow boxing. Andy said: “Research shows that shadow boxing can accelerate rehabilitation in people who have witnessed major traumatic life events. As a social activity it facilitates communication, reduces loneliness and enhances physical and psychological health.”
Their 6-Stage acronym of Valerian’s surname represents the key values she lived by whilst training as an elite athlete, and continue to apply throughout her everyday life.
R-Round by Round Routine
I know from assisting at All Stars that shadow boxing helps people of all ages. Studies have shown that shadow boxing is more beneficial for older adults than other sports. Boxing training is not only good for your physical health, but it is also good for your mental and social well-being. This in turn can improve communication and leadership skills.
With the fitness app industry now investigating ways to track gains from the types of physical interactions prevalent in contact sports, we might soon see shadow-boxing sit alongside walking, running and cycling in our daily fitness routines. For Valerian and Andy, The Spicer Method would be a great place to start.