Climbing brings unexpected benefits

Rock climbing as a recreational sport became popular with the nation in the 1980s first indoor climbing hall Opening in Seattle. Today there are more than 500 indoor climbing walls in the United States, powering a $493 million industry, according to market research firms IBIS World.

The new Olympic sport includes three disciplines: bouldering, which is performed on lower walls without a rope; speed climbing, where the person who gets to the top fastest wins; and lead climbing, where the goal is to climb as high as possible within a time limit.

While rock climbing attracts the adventurous, others find it to be an excellent workout that also calms and sharpens the mind.

Here are eight reasons why you should try rock climbing.

Important NOTE: Before beginning any new exercise program, consult your doctor. Stop immediately if you feel pain.

Increases cardiorespiratory fitness

Fast sports like running, soccer, and biking come to mind as workouts that get your heart rate up. But climbing also makes the heart beat faster, as it involves a lot of pulling, pushing and lifting. And the more challenging the climb compared to your ability, the more training.
Elite athletes on the USA Climbing national team have heart rates up to about 150 beats per minute while they climbed, a pretty impressive number, said Zack DiCristino, the team’s physical therapist and medical manager. According to a study published in the study, indoor rock climbing was found to require the same energy expenditure as running, 8 to 11 minutes per mile British Journal of Sports Medicine.

Builds muscle strength

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It’s not surprising that pulling your body up a rock face builds muscle in your arms, but climbing does a full body exercise. In addition to training your biceps, triceps, and deltoids, it will also work your abs, obliques, glutes, hamstrings, calves, and more.

“When you rock climb, you build a lot of upper body strength, especially in your hands and fingers,” DiCristino said. “But what a lot of people don’t realize is that with the right technique, you also get a pretty good lower body workout with all the squats and jumps.”

Improves flexibility and balance

Climbing requires you to be able to stretch your arms and legs high and wide and to contort your body into unusual positions. And of course you have to balance on tiny steps. The more you climb, the better your flexibility, balance, and coordination.

“Climbing helps you be aware of your body and improves the way you move your body,” said Nick Wilkes, owner and head coach at Devils Lake Climbing Guides, a mountain guide service in Madison, Wisconsin.

Improves memory and problem solving

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A lot of the skill of rock climbing comes from planning your climbing route in advance and memorizing it. You must also be able to solve problems on the fly and change your route or sequences when you encounter unexpected obstacles. “Climbing is inherently very cognitive,” DiCristino said.

In fact, activities like rock climbing have been shown to increase working memory capacity by 50% a study conducted by researchers at the University of North Florida. And women are better beginner climbers than men because they’re used to solving physical problems with their brains, Wilkes noted.

Increases communication skills

Communication skills are essential to your safety. Rope climbers have an attendant on the ground, called a belayer, who manipulates the rope through a device to control tension or slack, arrest falls, and lower the climber. During an ascent, the duo must constantly communicate over issues such as desired rope tension, when the climber wishes to rest, and when to descend.

Communication is key, with a climber and a belayer handling the rope to build trust in each other.

“In order for me to be a better climber, I need to communicate clearly with the person belaying me so they know how I’m feeling, when I need a break or if I want to change the climb in any way,” said Lindsay Wenndt , a certified health coach, fitness trainer and owner of Break Free Fitness from Atlanta.

“The same goes if I’m the one holding the rope,” she said. “It’s my job to encourage my partner when she feels she can’t perform a certain move, to suggest a more efficient way to complete a route, and to be her biggest cheerleader when she faces a new obstacle or goal.” overcomes.”

Boosts confidence

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Belaying – whether as a belayer or a climber – requires a lot of trust as it is essential for safety. “I have to have complete trust in my partner,” Wenndt said, knowing full well that if she falls, they have her. “I also have to trust myself that I will be able to do at least one thing on this path that I don’t think is possible.”

It’s easier to build confidence through climbing than in a lower-risk sport, Wilkes said. “Securing someone or being secured has a life and death element,” he said. “This leads to a deeper experience for people.”

Build community

Indoor climbing offers physical, social and psychological benefits, including camaraderie, according to a US Department of Veterans Affairs study on adaptive rock climbing for people with disabilities. And most climbers say the best thing about their sport is that it’s a tight-knit community, DiCristino said.

“When you go to a climbing gym, they often have notice boards where people are looking for a partner to climb with,” he said. “It’s a great way to meet people.”

Fights depression

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Like many other sports, rock climbing can help fight the blues. researchers in Germany found that rock climbing is a successful psychotherapy for adults with depression thanks to its physical, social, and mental benefits. Climbing outside might give you an extra boost Research has also shown Spending time in nature is a natural antidepressant.

Climbing is also very thoughtful, Wilkes said. “It’s a great mirror that shows you how to deal with fear, disappointment and success, and how to deal with the rest of your life as well.”

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