Climbing Is Great For Happiness, Well-Being And Physical Health
Climbing is great for happiness, well-being and physical health
Wouldn’t it be great if there were a form of exercise that didn’t feel like exercise, that was actually enjoyable, and something that you found yourself looking forward to?
At the end of a long day at work venturing back out to the sports centre or for a run around the local park can seem like a real bore and an unachievable challenge. Climbing has the answer and ticks all the boxes!
Climbing provides us with a multitude of physical and mental benefits which come in handy dealing with the many challenges we face in everyday life.
‘Climbing requires a lot of problem solving, mental concentration and focus, so it helps sharpen your brain. A lot of people like it as it allows you to escape everyday worries and just focus on the climb. It also can give a great sense of achievement.’ The British Mountaineering Council
When you find yourself at the bottom of a climb you will feel exposed. What you will do next will reveal your strengths, weaknesses and put our emotional reactions out on a platter. We put ourselves through this anxiety, stress, bliss and frustration because it teaches you how to manage these emotions and to overcome doubt and fear. Climbing improves mindset and mental well-being, enabling us to better manage the everyday at home and work.
‘Climbing is so much fun that children and adults do not even realise that it is exercise. With so much focus and concentration on achieving the goals they set themselves will allow them to forget any concerns they have about their body. With time, the sport builds body confidence, self awareness in addition to physical strength.’ High Sports
People are at their best when they are challenged, when they take themselves out of their comfort zone, and when they push their limits to achieve goals they would not have thought possible. If you are challenged you are engaged - and climbing provides just that. The concentration and focus that is induced simply by climbing a wall is unlike any other sport.
Every route on the climbing wall is a puzzle that needs working out. Problem solving requires patience, planning and analysis in order to successfully crack the code. Many beginner climbers, tend to approach each problem as they climb the route, but as you progress climbers learn to visualise the route they will take, what hand and foot will be placed where and work out the toughest part of the climb (the crux) before they set out.
We love the crux because we love overcoming it. It isn’t always easy dealing with hurdles but there is a certain je ne sais quoi feeling achieved from overcoming these obstacles. When faced with a problem, we dig deep into our bag of tricks and chose the solution that best fits. In climbing, we do this with a flag, drop knee or heel hook - though these may not be the most suitable techniques in the work place!
Be efficient with your energy levels and mental capacity. Try not to use up all your power on the wrong sequence on the wall. Try not to wear yourself out on things you can come back to another time and with a fresh perspective.
Climbing indoors is a controlled environment where risks are kept to the minimum. If you do venture outdoors then there are a number of variables to consider, including the weather, other people, broken rock and potential injury. To enjoy the task at hand, you do what you can to manage these variables, find coping strategies and adjust expectations. Being forced to do this on the climbing scene makes you more flexible, adaptable and resilient.
There is always a new route, a new crag, a new problem, sport climbing, trad (traditional) climbing, bouldering etc... You never quite know what's around the corner. It is easy to be enthusiastic about climbing as you get relatively quick gratification. However, if you do apply this approach to other parts of your life by embracing the new, you may be surprised by what comes your way.
Review & Trust
Buddy Check! We never go up a climb without checking everything in the system is correct and safe. We review the system to be sure we couldn't be doing it better. We trust our climbing buddy to keep us safe. Climbing teaches us to be mindful and respectful and to review the system regularly.
We form close bonds with climbing partners because we need to understand and communicate well, how one another climbs, when to push and when to call it a day. Translate the way you forge relationships over to other aspects of your life for stronger, deeper and more reciprocal.
Let it go (and come back to it)
Like everything, you learn this with time, once you know your ability, limits and capabilities. It is great to have a project to work on, but if it seems a little out of reach after a few too many attempts, come back to it with a fresh perspective and you will be able to do it!
Climbing provides us with an outlet, a way to de-stress, re-focus and get perspective. The skills we practice in climbing and the attitudes we adopt help us to succeed in other aspects of our lives. Invest in your well-being, mindset, mental and physical health by coming climbing.
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