You might have noticed that rock climbing is hugely popular right now. Everyone seems to be doing it, right? But why? Can crawling up a cliff edge or an indoor climbing wall really be that fun?
In truth, this unique activity is so much more than that. And I’m going to share with you exactly why. Moreover, for those of you who have already tried it but stopped for whatever reason: discover all the brilliant things you might have forgotten and get yourself back on that wall.
1. You get to spend time outdoors
Granted, you may need to refine your climbing skills in a bouldering centre (an indoor facility) under trained supervision. But once you’re feeling confident enough, there are plenty of outdoor locations that offer unforgettable climbing experiences.
For beginners, Stanage Edge is a great place to start. It boasts over one thousand different climbs, from easy to challenging. And the views across the peak district make a stunning backdrop for your new hobby. Build up your skills and Land’s End could be your next climb to conquer. Enjoy the thrill of ascending a cliff edge with ferocious waves beneath you; a wild ride for the fearless.
2. Your body won’t hate you
Spinning, CrossFit, circuit training, running… all excellent ways to keep fit. But these intense workouts can leave you sweaty, gasping for air and with some wicked-bad muscle burn. Some of you might enjoy this feeling; a sign that you’ve had a great fitness session.
Others could see it as a punishment. For you, rock climbing is a great alternative. While you might feel sore in your arms afterwards, you won’t feel breathless or in pain during the exercise. Just try to do some stretches before and after so you don’t feel too achy the next day.
3. It’s a full body workout
You might not feel like you’re doing much exercise when you’re climbing... but the opposite is true. When you climb, you use a lot of muscles. You pull yourself to the next handhold with your arms and push with your legs. You also maintain balance using your feet and torso.
All of these areas get a lot of attention during a session, increasing your strength, endurance and flexibility. And because you might be drawn to it as a hobby (rather than just an exercise) you can get a full body workout doing something you really enjoy, not endure.
4. You’ll meet great people
Whether you choose to climb indoors or outdoors, you’re unlikely to ever be doing it on your own. Bouldering centres are usually filled with adventure seekers and athletes alike, especially at the weekends. And if it’s a beautiful day and you want to try your luck outdoors, chances are lots of other climbers will too.
It’s a fantastic way to meet like-minded, friendly and outgoing people. You could even join a group on Meetup.com if your main intention is to make new friends. And what you’ll experience is a wealth of support in the people you meet; individuals who will want to help you reach your goals and see you improve.
5. It’s like playing a game
Perhaps you’re a Sudoku pro or like to play video games in your spare time. The reasons you like these activities will be very similar to why you’d enjoy climbing. Scaling rocks requires problem-solving techniques to progress. Every time you move towards your next handhold you have to strategise your advance.
The top of the route is always the end game, motivating you to conquer it so you can move onto the next course. You’ll also find this incentive to be a major talking point among your fellow climbers, as you support each other in meeting personal targets.
6. It’s a great metaphor for life
But sometimes reaching that next foothold is tough. It may even be out of reach. Climbing is an activity where getting stuck or falling is a given if you want to progress. Which, you could say, is a little bit like life.
We feel disheartened and angry when we take a wrong step. But once those feelings have passed, most of us strive to learn and improve from the errors we make. This activity demands the same level of humility, providing an exceptional opportunity for you to build up your resilience towards day-to-day mishaps; a valuable skill to have both on and off the wall.
7. There are no requirements
You can be short or tall. Experienced or young. It doesn’t matter. As long as you have a base level of fitness, you’ll have no trouble adjusting to the demands of your new hobby. Of course, having long arms and legs can help… but it is by no means a necessity. The only restriction you may find is if you’re adverse to heights.
This isn’t usually a problem if you’re in a harness. But sometimes all there is between you and the ground is a spongy floor (bouldering centres are mostly harness-free). You could tackle this by picking a place that uses a rope pulling system. But honestly, once you’ve fallen a few times and get used to the feeling, your fear will most likely disappear.
You’ll be scaling Mt. Everest in no time
Hopefully by now if you thought rock climbing wasn’t for you, what we’ve discussed here has had an impact on your opinion. But if you’re still not sure, just try it! Remember, this activity is:
● A thrill when you’re outdoors
● Easy to take to
● A great way to challenge yourself physically and mentally
● A great social activity
● A undemanding but powerful exercise
What do you think? Are you ready to give it a try? If you do, we’d love to hear about your experience, so please share below!