Winter is well and truly here in the Northern Hemisphere. The nights are dark and the weather is unpredictable, meaning spontaneous outdoor pursuits are less frequent, especially during the working week. Thankfully, there are loads of great activities out there to keep you fit, healthy, and active, ready for the Spring.
Whether you’re a regular on the rock or you’ve never stepped foot on a wall, indoor climbing is a great way to keep fit, build strength, and release stress. Here are 10 benefits of indoor climbing and why you should be getting involved.
Have you ever looked at a climber and thought ‘they look weak’? No. It’s never happened. Climbing is one of the best sports for building full-body strength as you have to hold tension throughout your whole body to keep you on the wall. Every single muscle in your body gets a workout on a single climb. Your arms, back and core get the most work and after a full session, you’ll really feel it.
Being flexible is a huge advantage when climbing. Many moves require you to move your body in ways that you didn’t think was possible. Can you imagine having to match your foot to your hand which is already above shoulder height? Well, it happens a lot. And if you’re stiff as a board you’ll soon loosen up. Increased flexibility is great for building strength too, win win!
If you’re looking for a fun way to burn calories, indoor climbing is a great option. In a single hour of climbing, you could burn 800 calories whilst having loads of fun at the same time.
Focus the mind
Climbing requires complete mental focus. As humans, we are (mostly) programmed to be scared of heights and the thought of falling will keep your mind from wandering. Any lapse in concentration and you’ll fall off the route. All this focus on the task at hand helps take your mind off other things in your life that may be causing you stress but also trains your brain to stay focussed and not get distracted.
Naturally, climbing is great for improving balance. And once your core is ripped to shreds from hours of climbing, you’ll have increased control over your body’s movements. The best thing about it is you don’t even have to try to improve your balance, it just happens naturally.
Like all forms of exercise, climbing is a great way to relieve stress. As we said above, being mentally focused on one thing (other than life) is great for relieving stress. But climbing is also a great release of endorphins which we all know helps combat cortisol. There’s no better feeling than topping out on a route you’ve been working on when your arms are pumped and you’re buzzing with endorphins. Trust us.
A huge part of climbing, and bouldering in particular, is problem solving. Not all climbing routes are immediately obvious and it takes some time to figure out the best way to get up the wall. It could be a series of different movements that require your body to move in different ways.
You might not think climbing is a cardio workout but you’d be wrong. Your heart and lungs get a serious workout when you’re climbing, ensuring that your muscles are well-fed with oxygen to keep you on the wall and off the floor. You can even add specific training into your climbing to focus on cardio, like circuits.
Everyone knows that having goals to work towards is a great way to stay mentally sound. Set goals, work towards them and smash those targets. Climbing is the perfect way to get that satisfaction with each and every route climbed. With every route climbed/goal achieved you get a hit of dopamine and it feels so good!
This is slightly subjective, but climbing creates the perfect physique. Given that all the movements are bodyweight exercises you’ll stay super lean but get so much stronger. After a full winter of regular climbing you’ll feel more ripped, more flexible, and happier than ever!
So there you have it, 10 benefits of indoor climbing to keep you physically and mentally fit. There are so many more benefits we could go into but we think this is a good starting point.