You rarely see a FAT climber.
I don’t know if this is because they’ve tried to do it but found they can’t, or it’s because climbing makes you lose weight rapidly, but you rarely see an overweight person climbing up a wall, do you?
There are a whole lot of benefits to rock climbing as a hobby, and once my knee has fully healed, I’ll certainly be starting this sport more seriously. It’s such a fun thing to do, and learning about the health benefits, as well as the psychological and emotional ones too, you’ll want to start doing it too.
Rock climbing can be described as any situation where you’re ‘climbing’ up a rock. It could be at a climbing gym, a mountain side or a natural rock climbing location, or a ‘bouldering’ spot which is rock climbing, only it’s done sideways as opposed to climbing up. (It’s more focused on low to the ground movements). Anyway, let’s move on.
Some benefits of rock climbing
There are many benefits of this sport, but they’re not all physical. Some of the perks are actually emotional and psychological. I’ll explain them all so you can get a better understanding of why rock climbing is so good for you.
Physical benefits of rock climbing
Rock climbing is a difficult sport.
You’re required to use your strength to cling to the wall and often times you are holding most of your muscles in a static hold, constantly tensed. You should aim to be as relaxed as possible to get better at climbing, but sometimes you can’t and it’s very hard work. This is a good thing.
Here are some notable physical benefits of climbing:
- Stronger arms. Your arms will become stronger the more you climb, this is because your arms are used to traverse the climbing wall or face. Your grip strength will increase dramatically after just a few weeks of climbing.
- Stronger Shoulders. Of course your shoulders are part of your arms, but the strength you’ll gain in your shoulders is important. You’ll develop nice toned shoulders, as this muscle group is used to keep you stable on the wall.
- More powerful Thigh muscles. Your legs will become more toned, although this isn’t one of the main muscles that will become stronger. Your legs are used to push you up fro leg holds and further up the wall, but it’s not a ‘very strenuous’ workout for them.
- Stronger Back and neck. Your neck will develop stronger muscle groups around it because you’re always looking around you and up and down as you climb. The nature of the sport also means your back gets nice workout too!
- Forearms. I had to mention this one, because I love this muscle! Forearms, specially on a man look great when they’re toned, and your strength here will increase a LOT.
- Improved Cardio. Because it’s a low impact cardio exercise, your breathing and heart rate will improve as well as your stamina etc..
And every other muscle group (pretty much).
It’s a full body workout and can improve your strength, endurance and speed in most muscle groups on your body. The nature of the exercise forces you to use your entire body to climb the wall, not just your upper body. Many people think it’s just about having strength in your arms, but it’s not.
You don’t usually see a monkey climb with arms bent as if it’s doing a pullup, do you? They have straight arms because they know the most efficient way to climb is with straight arms and by using their whole body. they use momentum, legs and their core muscles to swing and propel themselves higher.
Oh, there are more benefits by the way..
Psychological/emotional benefits of rock climbing
Climbing is a full body workout, meaning your head as well.
It doesn’t just keep your muscles fit, but it also stimulates and improves your cognitive ability, problem solving, confidence etc. Let’s look at the mental benefits of rock climbing.
- Better goal setting. To climb rocks you must set goals and move towards them. We’ve already talked about why that’s important in life.
- You’re more aware of yourself. It requires you to be more aware of the space around you, and how you’re moving your body through it.
- It can relieve stress. When you’re climbing, nothing else matters. It’s much the same effect that skydiving has on you, because you’re so focused on the moment and what you’re doing right now, you don’t have time to worry about things like work or bills. It’s an antistress device!
- More confidence. If you can climb up a mountain, you can do anything. Things that seemed like a big deal before, (public speaking, confrontation, job interviews) now don’t seem hardly as daunting.
- Better perseverance. When you’re climbing you always want to get to the top, and you’ll keep trying to get there. That’s what makes it such a good sport because it teaches you life skills as well as giving you a workout.
There are a whole lot more benefits to rock climbing, but I’m just covering a few here. It’s sort of an introduction to the sport if you didn’t know about the benefits, and I’ll probably do a few more posts about the sport when I get back into it in the coming weeks. Oh, I almost forgot.
This is probably my favorite part about rock climbing (Apart from getting thick, strong forearms!)..
The very important reason! – It’s YOU vs YOURSELF
Just like in other areas of life, often it’s just you vs yourself. You’re the one who normally holds you back in most things, and learning that through rock climbing will show you that in other aspects of life, you can often remove limitations by just stepping outside of them.
I know that sounds like a weird idea, but stick around on the blog for long enough and you’ll understand what I’m trying to say here. The point is, rock climbing is about you challenging and pushing yourself, so it makes you stop thinking about competing and getting approval for others (Unless of course, you’re actually competing in a rock climbing competition!).
It pushes you and makes you want to achieve more, and that’s a skill that’s useful not only on the climbing wall, but in every aspect of your life.