How climbing gets you fit
Fitness benefits of climbing
Any serious rock climber will tell you that once you’ve conquered a rock face, that’s it, you’re hooked. A soaring rock face to a rock climber is as thrilling as the sight of huge rolling waves to a surfer or a massive dump of snow to a snowboarder — it’s all about the buzz you can get from the great outdoors. The sense of adventure and freedom is hard to beat, as are the views you will see at the top of each climbing conquest. It’s a sport that is sociable, challenging, technical and exhilarating. Climbing also has a number of vital health and fitness benefits for your body.
The variety of mountains and hills out there means that rock climbing is never boring. There are so many routes to climb all around the world to offer a thrill for all levels and experiences. And don’t be fooled into thinking that it’s simply about heading upwards — rock climbing these days offers so many different techniques and specialities.
Some climbers, believe it or not, never venture that far from the ground and prefer to tackle various technical complications of climbing boulders — these guys will swing round in all sorts of weird angles and positions, so don’t think this is the soft option! Then there are those that stay inside for their climbing fix, choosing to tackle the variety of man-made indoor walls out there.
Even at the traditional rock face in the great outdoors you will find two types of climber. There are those who stick to safe, bolted routes, with good rope set-ups, harness and climbing buddies will make sure they don’t head for a fall if they slip up.
The mightiest of climbing challenges, however, has no such room for error. Soloing, the second type of climber, is not for the fainthearted. These guys climb routes without ropes, relying entirely on their balance, grip, good shoes, chalk bag and knowledge to get to the top. This may sound totally crazy to the uninitiated, but for the soloist, it’s about total freedom and pure exhilaration.
Climbing, however, can be extremely physically demanding, so participants need to have a relatively high level of fitness and strength. The sport is also highly dependent on the weather, and should only be attempted when dry.
There are an excellent collection of climbing guidebooks that offer all-you-need-to know on climbing routes in particular areas. No climber should leave home without one.
Health and fitness benefits of climbing
Rock climbing has a number of health and fitness benefits including:
- Develops arm and upper body strength.
- Improves flexibility and agility.
- Boosts leg muscles and feet strength.
- Improves the body’s cardiovascular system.
- Refreshes and clears the mind from daily distractions.