The lesser-known benefits of rock climbing

Photo: Singapore Sports Hub
Photo: Singapore Sports Hub

Most indoor gyms were forced to close in the middle of last month. However, some sporting activities like indoor rock climbing have been spared, as social distancing can still be enforced at these venues. Besides being a fun way to work up a sweat, rock climbing has numerous other benefits too, some of which you might not be aware of. Here’s a look at the different physical and mental benefits of rock climbing that’ll *ahem* rock your world.

Strengthens minor muscles in the limbs and core

Rock climbing is pretty much a full-body workout. It’s all hands (and legs) on deck when you’re holding your balance on the wall. Simultaneously, you’ll have to flex your core muscles in order to keep your body upright. Gripping those holds means your forearms are put to work, while your lats, delts, rhomboids, traps, biceps and many other muscles help you pull yourself up the wall. This balancing act wouldn’t be possible without your quads and calf muscles, which help you tiptoe and step onto the next hold. 

Improves concentration and sharpens your mind 

Besides muscle strength, rock climbing also requires balance and technique, which means it’s a workout for the mind too. Concentration is key as you’ll need to be mindful of balancing on your current position and the next possible step. You could say it’s a balancing act in more ways than one, as your aim is to build spatial awareness, and your ability to shut out distractions will be put to the test. Experienced climbers are able to quickly decide which of the nearby holds is the best next step, and improving mental focus will be key for new climbers who desire to build this muscle memory.

Reduces anxiety and encourages peace of mind

Exercise in any form is great for reducing stress. It allows the brain to release ‘happy hormones’ aka dopamine and serotonin, which regulate your mood and can help to improve one’s overall mental health. For those looking to switch up their routine from virtual workouts, rock climbing is a fun way to exercise and build one’s self-confidence.

If you’re new, it’s totally normal to feel scared when you’re suspended several metres off the ground. However, you can assure yourself that you’re in the safe hands of a belayer, who is on the ground watching your every move. All that’s left to do is be present in the moment. Mindfulness is key here, as climbers have to place mental focus on the situation at hand. It’s a great way to build problem-solving skills, and the satisfaction you get from reaching the top will make it all worthwhile. 

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