The majority of those who love rock climbing probably think of it just as an enjoyable hobby. They don't realize all the health benefits that this popular and high-intensity sport provides with its full body workout. In addition to the physical and mental challenges of rock climbing, there are many features that add to your fitness. There’s very few challenges that can help a person’s physical body and their mental prowess more than climbing. There are more options for climbers than you may think. Indoor climbing provides a great starting point for beginners. Afterwards, any climber should be capable of trying outdoor climbing in a safe method!
If you are not yet ready for outdoor climbing nor being among mountain climbers, the indoor type is also an adrenaline-pumping sport that is a terrific total-body workout and has all the benefits of outdoor climbing. The indoor type is a strength-building gym workout that targets the back and core and incorporates triceps and chest exercises, pull-ups with a thumbless grip to increase forearm strength, different leg raises, slow-motion bicycle reps, and much more.
Following are some of the outstanding benefits of rock climbing:
- Flexibility - the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends that healthy adults include flexibility exercises within their workout routines a minimum of twice weekly. Those increase the range of motion with such movements as high steps and long reaches.
- Strength – Since the climbing makes use of all major muscle groups, it improves upper-body strength as well as the important strength gains in legs and core muscles that play key roles in successful climbing.
- Coordination - Improved balance and agility are continuing crucial elements to cope with the coordination required between your muscles and your mind. Every climbing move involves a challenge that has to be solved with the proper footholds and handholds in order to efficiently and quickly continue on without falling.
- Burn Calories – A person weighing 150 pounds will use 250 calories in 20 minutes, which is almost triple the calories burned by walking briskly for that amount of time! Rock climbing is one of the most efficient and effective calorie-burning workouts.
If you do not want to worry about all the gear, ropes, and harnesses, bouldering is a form of climbing where you only need climbing shoes, a crash pad, and chalk. A crash pad is a sizeable piece of foam that is covered in durable nylon and has straps to carry the pad on your back. It is used for falling onto to avoid broken bones and twisted ankles.
For protection against falling, rock climbing requires quite a bit of equipment. Standards are the climbing rope, harness, helmet, other gear, food, and water; but you will need additional things. You do not want to skimp on the gear; those things should start off new and defect free. A brief description of some of that equipment follows, and the store where you buy your supplies can give you many more details and helpful advice:
- Appropriate clothing – It is important that it is not tight so that it would restrict the freedom of movement. Wear layered clothing that can be adjusted depending on the weather. Shirts and trousers are available in a breathable material. A softshell jacket is perfect to combat wind, rain, and colder temperatures. The proper shoes fit snugly so that you are able to make good use of your feet for climbing. A handy accessory is a bandana that will keep the hair off your face and out of your eyes and keep the sun and sweat at bay.
- Climbing rope - For the beginner, a 70 meter, 10mm dynamic rope is the answer. Later on, a lighter rope may be desired so that the sending rope will be easier to feed.
- Helmet - Never climb outdoors without a helmet, although when bouldering, it is okay. There are various types of helmets to absorb any impact, and the best is a “hybrid” with a hard plastic shell, a foam core, good adjustments, and sufficient ventilation.
- Harness - Look for a snug adjustable fit, a nicely padded waistband, and comfortable leg and hip loops where you attach the equipment. The most important loop is the belay which binds the climbing rope and has the complete weight of the climber hanging on it.
- Belay device - Belaying is an essential climbing skill because your partner’s safety and possibly life is in your hands. You control the movement of the rope to protect the climber. The belay applies friction and acts as a brake to stop a possible fall. The two styles are manual and mechanical. The auto-locking mechanical belay is recommended because the device feeds the rope out smoothly and would brake automatically if the climber were to fall.
Even though rock climbing is said to be for all ages and different strength levels, you should still check with your doctor first to make sure that you are physically up to the challenge. Also, before you begin, whether indoors or outdoors, be sure to acquire the necessary climbing and safety skills by taking a beginner class from a professional qualified rock-climbing instructor.