Fitness, Health

Six reasons climbing is a great way to maintain health and wellness

By Ellie

Climbing first caught my eye about a year ago when I started college and discovered my university has a free indoor climbing gym for students. I started climbing and quickly learned to love it!  It’s a sport that has many mental and physical benefits that promote a healthy lifestyle.

Climbing builds mental strength
Mentally, climbing has helped me grow as a person because it’s taught me to trust my body and my push myself out of my comfort zone as I climb harder or more technical routes. It teaches you to develop a strong mindset because you need to be able to fall on the same route repeatedly but tell yourself “this time I’ll get it” each time you try again.

It’s competitive with yourself, not with other people
A problem I’ve found with team sports is people would be more focused on beating an opponent and being the best rather than having fun and developing their skills. When I became involved with the rock climbing community, I discovered a more inward focus.  Everyone is concerned with bettering themselves and improving personally rather than beating anyone else.  As everyone has a different style to their climbing and their own set of strengths and weaknesses, the only climber you can truly compare yourself to is the climber you were yesterday.

It’s a lot of problem solving
When climbing, there are lots of different ways to tackle the various challenges you’re presented with. For example, a shorter person might not be able to reach climbing holds as well as someone who’s taller.  At the same time, if you’re small you don’t require as much strength to keep yourself on the wall. Everyone uses their own skill set and must figure out how to solve problems and tackle hard routes in ways that fit their climbing style. And every route you climb is different, so you’ll get a lot of mental exercise along with physical.

Climbing creates a strong community
Because rock climbing isn’t a very competitive sport, the community is very supportive and welcoming.  It’s a great environment for socializing and making friends.  Climbers are happy to give you advice on how to complete a route, talk about different places you’ve both climbed, share training tips and even teach different styles of climbing.

All skill levels welcome
Both indoor and outdoor climbing offer a variety of challenges for all skill levels.  This can range anywhere from climbing a ladder, to gripping tiny holds or even jumping 4 feet to reach the next move. Because of the variety of challenge options, it’s easy to get started and possible to climb with people with more developed skills.

Can be done alone or with a group
With team sports like football; baseball; basketball or soccer, you need a big group of people to have a game.  Depending on the type of climbing you do, you can go by yourself, with just one other person or with a big group of friends to solve problems and train together.  The different types of climbing are bouldering, top rope and lead climbing.  Bouldering is where you climb without ropes and only go about 10 feet off the ground (there are padded mats to land on if you fall).  Bouldering can be done by yourself or with a group of people. Top rope climbing and lead climbing are done with ropes and require at least two people:  one person acts as a weight as the other person climbs.

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