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Benefits of Climbing

The popularity of indoor rock climbing has seen a virtual explosion in recent years. It seems like only yesterday when finding a climbing gym in your city was like finding a hidden gem, or a secret clubhouse. It is a  place where only you and a few others in the know could enjoy the magic of the walls.

Today, however, it seems like climbing gyms are popping up everywhere. Climbing is even in the movies, TV shows, social media, and more. If you ever wondered if this sport is right for you, here are four things to help you decide if you want to go out and try something new.

Climbing For Alternative Fitness

For many of us, the thought of going to a mainstream fitness center is unmotivating. Running on a treadmill that never moves or doing a workout routine over and over again is boring.

Climbing is an excellent alternative to the treadmill and the weight room.

Looking to build strength? Climbing has you covered. An excellent upper body workout. Regular climbers have the shoulders of competitive swimmers, the biceps of martial artists, and the forearms of gymnasts.

Looking for a good cardio workout? Scaling a 30-foot wall or spending 15 minutes on the boulders without letting go gives you excellent cardio. And you’ll be having so much fun, you’ll forget you’re sweating.

Climbing To Meet Cool People

It’s a great option if you are looking to expand your social circle. For an increasing number of people, the local climbing gym has replaced the local bar as the destination for “happy hour.”

Climbers tend to be friendly, outgoing, and inclusive, and the social atmosphere at most gyms is positive and supportive.

Climbing To Build Confidence

The psychological benefits of getting in shape are well known. Sometimes called “vertical chess,” climbing requires solving puzzles and is a great workout for your brain. It engages your mind as well as your body, training your problem-solving skills as well as boosting your confidence.

A friend of mine who had a debilitating fear of heights asked me a few years ago if he could use climbing to help overcome that fear. I designed a program for him, and we worked together for a few months. Gradually we increased his comfort level with heights. After about six months, he got to the top of an 80-foot outdoor climb. We found out later that his shout of, “I did it!” could be heard by tourists 500 feet above him at the clifftop overlook.

If that isn’t a confidence booster, I’m not sure what is.

Indoor climbing facilities have walls that come in all shapes and sizes. This allows you to choose your comfort level. It also gradually nudges your comfort zone at your own pace, based on your personal ability and goals.

Climbing For More Adventure

For many people just being able to get to the top of an indoor climbing wall would be a story to tell their friends and family at the next barbecue or holiday party.

But for those who are looking for a truly unique outing, going on an outdoor excursion may be just the ticket.

There are few experiences more memorable, not to mention thrilling, than standing on a ledge looking out over the tree tops. The fact is our ancestors were born to climb—and so were we.

Climbers get a marvelous dopamine shot when they complete a hard climb, or when they stick a move they were sure they would fall off. What’s more, the complex nature of the climbing movement, and the near-infinite variety of individual moves, means there is always a new problem to solve. In my 30 years of this sport, I can’t think of a day when I’ve been bored.

If you are looking for a fun, engaging way to get in shape, a way to meet cool new people, boost your confidence, tackle an interesting challenge, go on an adventure, or all of the above, then climbing is a good choice for you. Go get started at your local rock climbing gym!

Happy climbing!


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