The key to developing any kind of consistency with exercise is to find a gym, routine, class or sport that you actually enjoy doing. Do you like competition? Join a local kickball league. Are you the type of person who makes friends easily? Try a group fitness class at a fitness studio nearby. Do you enjoy being outdoors? There’s always hiking.
Among the endless options for exercise is the relatively new and fast growing sport of indoor rock climbing. Although the image most of us picture when we hear ‘Rock Climbing” is one of being stuck on the edge of a cliff, in a dangerous situation, somewhere in the snow covered mountains. The fact is that indoor climbing gyms are much more like kid’s gymnastics centers than anything else. Read on to find out how indoor rock climbing can be a great way to exercise.
Rock climbing can be as easy or as challenging as you want it to be. There are a wide range of difficulties at most indoor rock gyms that can go from routes resembling a “staircase” to ones that seem to require 100 “one-arm pull-ups”. The good news is that climbing is usually a smooth, non-impactful workout. It’s easy to avoid common stresses on the back and knees that you might experience while weightlifting or doing martial arts. In the US, climbing routes are usually rated from 5.0 to 5.15. Start closer to the 5.0 and if you get hooked you’ll be able to work your way up in no time (no pun intended).
Camaraderie and sense of accomplishment:
Although there are many benefits to both team sports and individual sports, rock climbing is the best of both worlds. Climbing usually requires having a partner to belay you, which means to anchor you or lower you down from the other end of your safety rope. However, support and advice will usually come from other climbers nearby as they cheer you on. Even though climbing only involves you and your partner directly, rock gyms are a great place to develop new friendships and share common bonds with others.
Full Body Strength:
It may seem like climbing relies solely on the upper body but it is, in fact, a full body workout. Wearing special rock climbing shoes helps you to actually ‘hook’ or grab on to a climbing hold with your foot. Your back and core muscles do their job too by keep your body balanced. Let’s not forget about the workout your calves are getting when you’re standing on your tippy toes. Breath and focus are a big part of climbing as well, just like in yoga class. And if you ever feel like you’re ready to try outdoor climbing, the added benefits of being in nature take the Mind/Body experience to a whole new level.
Don’t be afraid to try something new in your fitness routine. The good news is that every sport has its benefits. When you find the one you like, enjoy it for what it is and be sure to recognize all of the positive aspects, like new friends, new challenges and new accomplishments.
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