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Why are so many people rock climbing?


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Emily Halcomb

Granite Arch Climbing Center | Rancho Cordova, CA


While rock climbing is a sport that has been steadily gaining more and more popularity every year, many people are still skeptical of it. You might have seen your friends posting pictures of themselves clinging to outdoor cliff faces or scaling colorful indoor walls and wondered why people would do something that seems so crazy, and what the benefits are. If you haven’t tried climbing at a gym yet, your only experience with it might be childhood memories of playing on monkey bars and jungle gyms. So, why exactly do people climb?

It’s a fun full body workout!

Have you ever gotten bored of lifting weights and running on a treadmill? Many people choose climbing because it’s the exact opposite of boring. Climbing is often described as, “it’s like you’re doing a puzzle with your body.” This exhilarating sport challenges and stimulates your brain, works out nearly all of your muscles, and you’ll get your cardio in. You'll easily get all the benefits of a full workout without feeling like you're working out.

The community is friendly and supportive

As soon as you step into a climbing gym, you’ll notice an immediate difference in the atmosphere compared to your standard gym: people are engaging with each other!

Unlike a gym where you most likely are doing your own thing and avoiding awkward eye contact, climbing gyms have a much more social atmosphere. You’ll find yourself immersed in a vibrant social community where rest periods turn into impromptu chats and collaborative problem-solving sessions. If you spend enough time at a climbing gym, you’re sure to make new friends!

Balance and Coordination

Climbing isn’t just about strength; it also requires balance, coordination, and focus. When you climb, you need to be aware and in control of every part of your body in order to get to the top of the route. What might start as a series of awkward movements will soon become overall improvements in your motor skills. Eventually you’ll start to experience a zen-like flow where you are completely present with your movements; this is the feeling that that keeps people coming back time and time again.

It’s a great rush of adrenaline!

Are you the kind of person who loves roller coasters, scary movies, rafting, and other thrilling activities? If so, climbing might just be for you! At a climbing gym, you might be perched 60+ feet in the air, relying on sheer grit and tenacity to make it to your next move. You’ll learn how to trust yourself, your partner, and the equipment you’re climbing on. You’ll take falls that induce a rush of adrenaline. You might be scared at first, but you’ll get the better of your fears and find yourself wanting to challenge your body again and again. If you’re looking for even more thrill, you can try outdoor climbing once you’ve learned some additional skills.

Build your confidence

Everyone is a scared of something when they start climbing. It could be their fear of heights, falling, failing, or being judged by others. The climbing gym provides an uplifting environment that encourages everyone to conquer their fears and celebrate their victories. Everyone in the gym wants to see their fellow climbers succeed; don’t be surprised when a complete stranger starts cheering you on.

There’s always room to grow

In the world of climbing, there’s always another peak to conquer, a bigger challenge to accomplish. Similar to leveling up in a video game, each climb presents a new opportunity to push your limits and surpass your previous best. With routes that range from beginner-friendly to seemingly impossible, there is no shortage for room to grow and numbered grades make it easy to track your progress. Once you feel like you’ve conquered climbing indoors, there’s a whole world out there for you to apply your new skills and challenge yourself even more. Just make sure to get proper training before doing so.

Everyone has their reason for climbing, whether that be the community, the adrenaline rush, or accomplishing their fitness goals. If you ask around, you’ll hear some pretty inspiring testimonies; climbing has changed many people’s lives in the best of ways. If you’re still on the fence about climbing, at least come try it. Maybe in a few months you’ll be telling new climbers why you climb!


The Relationship between Climbing Ability and Physiological Responses to Rock Climbing


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