Climb Your Way to Better Health
Fitness & Training Feb 2, 2016
Climb Your Way to Better Health

The benefits of being active cannot be overstated, but getting motivated is a challenge. If you are spicing up your routine, don’t overlook adventure-style activities. One popular adventure sport is rock climbing, which can be done both indoors and outdoors.

Indoor Rock Climbing

The beauty of indoor rock climbing is that you can enjoy it year-round. These facilities make it easy to get started, with all gear available for rent and instructors on hand to give lessons to first-timers. The specially designed sports centers cater to beginners, offering graduated walls with increasing levels of difficulty. Most have programs for climbers of all ages, making indoor rock climbing an exciting activity for the whole family.

Starting indoor rock climbing does not require peak physical condition, but it can improve your fitness. Climbing strengthens your grip and works the muscles of the forearms, biceps, triceps, and shoulders. As your skill improves and you work through more difficult climbs, you will notice toning in your thighs and calves along with increased flexibility.

The mental benefits of rock climbing cannot be overlooked. Increased endorphins are a natural by-product of exercise, and research has shown that endorphins reduce stress levels. Climbing has an additional advantage over traditional exercise regimens. Unlike other daily routines, climbers face new challenges with each wall they climb, putting problem-solving skills to the test.

While rock climbing might seem risky to the uninitiated, coaches and guides are focused on keeping you safe. Falls are a part of climbing, but a well-tested safety system known in the sport as belaying keeps you secure with a series of ropes and knots. When you fall, your partner gently lowers you to the ground.

Outdoor Rock Climbing

Outdoor rock climbing is a great choice for adventurous spirits that prefer a natural setting. In addition to the physical benefits that come with this sport, spending time outside has been shown to improve self-esteem and mood, as well as reduce levels of anxiety and depression.

Participating in outdoor rock climbing requires access to appropriate natural formations, but these are easier to come by than you might think – especially for folks seeking less technically complex locations. Those without experience are strongly encouraged to climb with seasoned instructors and guides, who will provide direction on the best local sites and practices for novices.

Outdoor rock climbers also rely on belaying to ensure their safety, and you can expect to receive careful instruction on belaying techniques before you are called upon to perform this task. A helmet will protect you from overhead falling rocks, and you can expect to wear comfortable, flexible climbing shoes.

The rewards of indoor and outdoor rock climbing aren’t just for extreme-sports enthusiasts. Beginning climbers also enjoy the strengthened muscles, increased endurance, and the diminished stress levels that come with exercising new skills.