The benefits of rock climbing are fast-rising topics with millions of participants and enthusiasts scattered across the globe interested in the sport.
Rock climbing, which was only actively engaged in relatively small numbers decades ago, has become an activity that has continually been subject to mainstream attention. It has attracted a significant amount of climbers to this sport.
These climbers often engage in rock climbing, for the thrill, and sometimes to become a professional rock climber. Capable of competing in the International Federation of Sport Climbing (IFSC) organized tournaments, such as the IFSC Climbing World Cup.
However, others climb to not just for the exhilaration of trying out something daring but also for the feeling of self-fulfillment, in reaching the summit of a seemingly tricky steep rock.
Know More: Quick Rock Climbing History & Facts
Benefits Of Rock Climbing (Physical & Mental)
While the thrill and exhilaration derived from rock climbing can be a substantial motivating factor in venturing into the act, the benefits derived can also serve as one, especially if you’re contemplating starting the sport.
We’ll review some of the benefits (physical and mental) of rock climbing in this article.
Physical Benefits Of Rock Climbing
Climbing helps to strengthen your thighs, upper back, arms, biceps, triceps, hands, shoulder, hands and whole body in general. Here are few physical benefits of rock climbing
1. Body workout
An intensive gym session can be hugely beneficial to the body, but when you consider the sore glutes, you come home with, you may have thought twice about returning.
Sheer determination might have pushed you to return to the gym for another round of intensive sessions, and of course, another week of sore glutes, but you endured. This may seem pretty good, but what if there exists an alternative to the intensive gym sessions, without the sore glutes?
Rock climbing is that alternative. Regular rock climbing brings about the same effect as an intense gym session. As you stretch your hands and legs to fit into cracks and fissures, your biceps and triceps are exercised; and yes, the same effect as lifting a dumbbell.
When you rappel or move higher with the climbing rope, your body muscles, from shoulder to your glutes, are exercised to lift a barbell weight.
As with most activities that release adrenaline, you never know what your body can do until you try it out. That is no different for rock climbing. Whatever discipline of rock climbing is chosen, the core lesson of endurance is expertly taught.
Bouldering, which may seem easy, compared to other disciplines of rock climbing, will most likely motivate beginner rock climbers to move further.
If a climber finds himself in a tricky spot, an outdoor climbing, rather than let go, the climber would hold on tight while navigating his way further.
An instance that proves rock climbing fosters endurance is the experience learned from the exploits of expert climber and multiple climbing world champion.
One such climber is Adam Ondra, when he sought to climb one of the most challenging climbing routes in the world, Silence, located in Flatanger, Norway, for the second time. Ondra prepared for the climb for four years, before he completed the climb.
Like most activities that involve stretching the body and maneuvering it, rock climbing promotes flexibility. As a climber navigates a bouldering problem, to ascend further, the climber must move body parts to have a practical grasp on the artificial climbing rocks.
This movement, which occurs multiple times as a climber ascends, makes the body muscle flexible and capable of performing actions, most individuals may be unable to perform.
4. Grip Strength
No activity, including barbell weight lifting in the gym, help build grip strength as much as rock climbing. Climbing routes come in different forms, with varying sizes of rock, footholds, and hand holes.
Some are smaller than others, which determines the difficulty of a climbing route. When a climber attempts to ascend such rocks with fissures, cracks, foot holes, and hand holes of different sizes, he has to grip these cracks, fissures, hand holes, or footholds as tight as possible.
This is the same for descending. Even with the aid of a climbing rope, a climber still has to hold on tightly to the rope, especially when rappelling. Griping hand holes, cracks, fissures, and ropes will help improve the climber’s grip strength.
In rock climbing, maintaining weight balance is integral to a successful climb, especially in outdoor climbing. As a climber ascends rock formations, in other to move body parts, he may have to concentrate his body weight on a rock, depending on how stable and strong the rock is.
A climber can only determine if a rock is strong enough to accommodate so much weight by experimenting. This continual experiments with various rock formations as a climber ascends make the climber experienced in balancing in weight.
Aside from weight distribution, a climber’s flexibility will give him control over muscles, which will make him stable and adjust even in the most awkward position while climbing.
Health Benefits Of Rock Climbing
The health benefits of rock climbing will take your health and over all well being to a greater height. These health benefits include:
6. Cardiovascular exercise
The efforts and brute force exercised in ascending steep rock terrains lead to an increased heartbeat rate, effectively causing blood pressure to increase.
Elevated blood pressure is translated to the increased oxygenated blood supply to every muscle, which plays a vital role in muscle endurance. The cardiovascular effect of rock climbing matches the same effect generated from an intensive gym session or miles of jogging.
Increased heartbeat rate generated from rock climbing also has a long term effect. The regular increased heartbeat rate from steady rock climbing keeps the heart in good shape and less susceptible to heart diseases, harmful cholesterol levels, and a heart attack.
The lungs that absorb significant amounts of oxygen as a climber regular engages in rock climber will significantly help a climber endurance level. More and more oxygen will be supplied to the muscle, thus pushing the muscle endurance level further.
7. Calories Burns
An intensive activity, rock climbing, greatly helps in burning calories. As much as 900 to 600 calories can be burnt per hour, depending on how much time is devoted to climbing.
A climber’s weight plays a role also. While an average climber may not necessarily burn such an amount of calories, you can be sure to burn a high number of calories than you do on your regular exercise routine. That number accounts for the time spent climbing only.
Still, when time spent belaying your climbing partner, chalking your hands, and other preparation activities, the number of calories burnt increases further.
8. Stress relief
The tension and agitation involved in rock climbing enable a climber’s mind to forget about worries from life challenges. While navigating a tough tertian, a climber’s thought is entirely focused on ascending successfully.
That focus helps the mind unburden from the bondage of stress, thus relieving the climber of his agitations and anxiety.
Upon reaching the summit of the rock, the first thought that crosses a climber’s mind, isn’t the stress and problems that exist, but rather exhilaration and joy, on achieving a seemingly impossible challenge.
9. Increased Stamina
In climbing, a climber may be stuck in a tricky position, which will require him to hold on despite the discomfort and pain, as he navigates his way further.
As a climber’s face such situations of this nature regularly, the climber endurance and stamina improves, which makes him a better climber. The increased circulation of blood rich in oxygen to the muscles also increases the climber endurance limit.
10. Problem Solving Ability
Rock climbing, which significantly depends on your climbing skill and experience, is an excellent problem-solving exercise. As a climber ascends a difficult rock formation or a bouldering problem, he is continuously faced with different challenges.
These challenges range from the size of the foot hole or handhole or position of his body movement. As the climber overcomes each of these problems, his problem-solving ability improves.
A precise instance indicates the exploits of Czech climber, Adam Ondra, as he attempted to climb Silence, one of the most challenging climbing routes in the world. Ondra, who trained for the climb on various boulder problems, spent four weeks, mastering his first boulder problem links.
This followed with other repeated trials to successfully master his moves, which he soon achieved. Thus, it led him to overcome the steep terrain of Silence effectively.
Whatever the purpose these climbers have in mind before venturing into rock climbing, they sure have enjoyed the benefits of rock climbing significantly.
Although, just a few venture into the sport for the benefits of rock climbing.