There are more benefits than the obvious ones that come to mind like building arm muscles. You’ll work your entire body, including your mind, make yourself feel great, and maybe make some friends! Here are 5 benefits of rock climbing that might surprise you.
1. Rock climbing works your core muscles – and everything else. When you’re climbing up a wall, you use your arms and upper body to pull yourself up to the next hold and your legs to push yourself higher. It’s clearly a great workout for arms and legs. But it also works your core! It’s important to engage your core muscles as you climb to support your arms and legs. It also works muscles in your hands and fingers. Rock climbing is a full-body workout!
2. Climbing just makes you feel good. Not just in the long term when you start to see the results on your muscle tone, you can feel the results while climbing or soon after! Of course you get a rush when you complete a climb, especially one you felt that you might not be able to do. There’s a feeling of accomplishment, mixed with happiness and pride.
This builds confidence, because if you can conquer that tough wall, think of all of the other things you can do! But it could go farther than that. A study from Indiana University found that rock climbers who completely immerse themselves in the climb enter a mental state of euphoria where pain signals may be blocked!
3. Rock climbing is obviously a physical challenge, but did you realize that it also offers a mental challenge? You use problem-solving skills every time you look for the next hold, figuring out where to put your foot so you can reach a higher hold with your hand.
You have to focus on the holds and the placement of your body, strategically planning each move. In competitive rock climbing, there is a competition known as “on sight,” which means that each climber only gets to look at the wall briefly before starting the climb. This means climbers need to plan on the go, think on their toes, and solve the problems right ahead of them.
4. Have you ever thought of rock climbing as a calorie-burning cardio session? Though some climbers race up the wall, many climbers, especially beginners, take their time ascending a wall. Even if you climb at a leisurely pace, rock climbing still gives you an intense workout.
Surprisingly, the cardio work involved can get your heart rate up to the same level as climbing stairs or jogging would. And you know that cardio burns calories: according to Self’s calorie counter and The Huffington Post, you can burn over 700 calories in one hour of climbing.
5. When you see those motivational posters with rock climbers on them, they’re always alone. It may surprise you to find out that rock climbing can be very social. Climbers will take turns belaying for each other, so they have to communicate with each other to keep everything safe. It’s a pretty supportive community, and fellow climbers may share tips and encouragement with each other.