There are estimates of more than 35 million climbers (both indoor and outdoor) worldwide now.
Indoor climbing can be expected for a further boost in popularity when climbers compete at the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.
In around one decade, indoor climbing has gone from a niche hobby enjoyed by a few eccentrics to a world sensation with popular appeal.
Have you ever wondered what lies behind the appeal of indoor climbing for the folks who gather at climbing gyms around the world?
In this article, we’ll reveal the numerous benefits of indoor climbing and why you should give it a try yourself. Let’s get started!
1. Full Body Workout
Around three-quarters of Americans don’t exercise enough.
For some people, there couldn’t be anything duller than dragging yourself to the gym to go on the treadmill.
You have to spend the whole alternating between different gyms machines to get a full body workout.
Indoor climbing gives you a full body workout. There is no other sport which can give a better full body work out than climbing.
You’ll strengthen your core without damaging your back or neck. Your build muscle around your arms, legs, and shoulders.
2. Increased Cardio Fitness
Strength building is more important for your general health compared with cardio fitness. However, cardio fitness is also hugely important for your health.
Indoor climbing also gives you a cardio workout at the same time. You may not notice the effects quite the same compared with when you’re jogging.
However, when you’re handing on the side of the wall pushing you to the max, your heart is pumping oxygen around your body.
This extra workout for your lungs is exactly the cardio workout your body needs to get on a regular basis.
3. Greater Flexibility
You may already go to the gym a few times per week and go for a regular run in the mornings.
But, have you ever noticed that you’re not as flexible as yogis? That’s because yoga emphasizes the importance of flexibility.
However, you can enjoy the same benefits of improved flexibility with regular trips to the climbing gym.
You’ll be able to make shapes that you never imagined before. As your flexibility improves, you’ll be able to reach for even higher climbing wall holds.
4. Physical Endurance and Stamina
Indoor climbing can also significantly improve your physical endurance and stamina.
When you start out climbing, you’ll become exhausted extremely quickly. Gradually you’ll find that you muster up the strength to go the extra mile.
Next time you’re in an awkward position at the wall, you’ll find you have the energy to grip on in time to leap for the next hold.
After a few weeks of indoor climbing on a regular basis, you’ll have more energy than ever before.
5. Lose Weight
Around half of Americans say that they’re trying to lose weight.
Have you already tried absurd diets and going to the gym? It can seem as though nothing works.
When you get your heart rate elevated, you burn calories. Of course, the amount of calories you burn depends on a number of factors, such as weight, age, and gender.
However, a 155-pound person of average height can burn up to 10 calories per minute during climbing, according to researchers.
Remember, some of the time during climbing, you’re not burning calories. You’re tying knots or chalking your hands.
6. Improved Balance
You’re more chiseled and energetic. You also need the capacity to balance on the wall.
You won’t be able to balance at first. You’ll be falling off the rock with your partner catching you.
Over time you’ll improve your ability to balance. You’ll find that you begin have super-human ability to control your muscles as never before.
While before you were wobbling all over the place on the edge of the hold, you’ll be strong and steady as you ascend to the top.
7. Low Impact
There some types of fitness tips and exercise tricks which can actually do more harm than good.
Even the sports and exercises which are beneficial for your general health can also damage your joints and muscles.
Sure, people get injured occasionally while climbing as well.
However, climbing doesn’t involve the impact on your body which is a feature of many physical activities.
You may have to endure an unexpected fall once in a while or a bang on the shoulders. But, you’ll won’t have to undergo the regular and repetitive impact on your bones and muscles.
8. Improve Your Concentration
Many people are worried about the inability of people to concentrate on something for just a few moments.
We check our phones every 12 minutes.
However, you can put your phone away in the locker to focus your mind on the wall puzzle in front of you.
We naturally don’t want to fall off any height, whether we’re safe or not.
Therefore, you’ll find that your instincts to cling to the wall kick in while you’re rock climbing.
You can conquer the fear of falling. Just concentrate on slowly and step-by-step making your way to the top of the wall.
You may even notice that your concentration in other aspects of your life improves as a result. Next time you become distracted at work, you’ll remember the lessons learned while being on the side of the wall.
9. Mindful Meditation on a Rock
Mindful meditation is becoming more popular than ever. The benefits to human well-being and mental health are backed up by science.
But, you don’t have to sit in a quiet room with crossed legs. Many climbers become addicted to finding the flow (“the zone”) on the wall.
The self-awareness and focus which many people experience on the wall can be compared with yoga or mindfulness.
The guy who coined the term “flow” describes it as the following:
“Being completely involved in an activity for its own sake.”
He adds, “The ego falls away. Time flies. Every action, movement, and thought follows inevitably from the previous one, like playing jazz.”
“Your whole being is involved, and you’re using your skills to the utmost,” he explains. What better explanation for indoor climbing could there be?
10. Reduce Stress Levels
Roughly 80 percent of Americans report being afflicted by stress.
While stress can be caused by numerous factors which cannot be solved by indoor climbing exclusively.
Nevertheless, indoor climbing can definitely help you to combat high-stress levels. Of course, everyone knows that physical activity and exercise reduces stress.
However, the concentration required when climbing has a bunch of benefits for your stress levels which don’t apply for going to the gym or jogging in the park.
11. Personal Challenge
You can always improve something about your climbing technique. There always new heights (literary) you can achieve.
Indoor climbing is not always considered a competitive sport. It can be. But, it doesn’t have to be.
And yet, you’re always competing with yourself to improve. This can become an important source of ambition for you.
You may always found a particular hold is beyond your reach. Once you eventually make it.
You won’t be able to sit still until you find another challenge. Only the next challenge in indoor climbing is around the corner.
12. Puzzle Solving
There are surprising benefits of doing puzzles from improving your mood to better short-term memory skills.
Many climbers compare indoor climbing to puzzle. You can stand back from the wall and analyze the different routes to the top.
Imagine climbing the wall as a dance. You dance spontaneously without any thought. Or, you can perform a perfectly choreographed piece.
Your problem-solving abilities gained from climbing can be transferred to multiple areas in the rest of your life.
13. Boost Your Self-Confidence
Around 85 percent of people suffer from low self-confidence. This can be crippling in your life.
The achievements you make on the wall can help you build up your confidence. Just you’ll have challenges on the way.
But, if you stay determined, you keep coming back with gritted teeth. When you make a hold which you never thought you would manage, you’ll experience a rush of self-confidence.
14. You Can do it Anywhere
There were 414 indoor climbing centers in the U.S. in 2017. Climbing gyms are growing by 10 percent per year.
There are also growing numbers of indoor climbing gyms across the world.
It doesn’t matter where you are in the U.S. or the rest of the world, you’ll be able to find yourself in an indoor climbing gym.
Eventually, you may even branch out to outdoor rock climbing. Be prepared for even scarier and more exhilarating times while climbing outdoors.
This can also take you to some of the most beautiful places in the world. You can go on your back-packing travels searching for climbing spots.
There are so breathtaking views from the top of the rocks as well.
15. Spot the Holds Around You
Before you know it, you’ll start to notice climbing opportunities wherever you go.
You’re walking around your workplace and you’ll spot a hold on the wall. While you’re out in the forest, you’ll get excited about a bouldering spot.
You start to see the world from a different perspective. Some would say from the point of view of our ancestors.
16. Make Friends for Life
As one climber puts it, “People come for the climbing, but also to be with friends.”
You’ll find yourself becoming part of a community of climbers at the same time. You have something in common together.
However, unlike other sports and activities, there’s plenty of time to catch up with your buddies while climbing too.
You can chat about your weekend while you putting your climbing shoes on. Or, remember old times together while you’re tying up knots together.
Before you know it, someone from the climbing wall will ask you if you fancy coming for a beer or coffee after as well.
17. Communication Skills
The responsibility of a belayer is huge. You’ve got your partner’s welfare in your hands. You don’t want to say something you don’t mean.
In such circumstances, you’ll quickly learn how to communicate clearly and effectively with other people. If you don’t someone could get hurt.
You’ll also pick up non-verbal cues from the climber. You need to be able to read these in order to get your partner down safely.
Communication is one of the foremost skills for any leader. You can learn this by climbing.
18. Learn to Trust Other People
People don’t trust each other anymore.
It’s important to be able to trust someone else in life. You can’t do everything on your own.
It’s good for the soul to let go of your ego and put your life in the hands of a stranger.
You can benefit from putting your trust in another human being. You know they’ve got your back.
19. You Can Climb, Rain or Shine
As winter sets in, many Americans exercise a lot less.
The cold and snowy winter can make it even harder to motivate yourself to go out and exercise. However, when you walk into the warmth of an indoor climbing gym, there’s nothing to worry about.
Whether it’s steaming hot outdoors or freezing cold, you can go climbing as normal. This way you can enjoy the benefits of indoor climbing throughout the year.
20. Everyone Can Do It
Of course, “everyone” doesn’t actually mean everyone.
However, it’s totally inclusive compared with other sports. When you head to your local indoor climbing gym it’s different.
There will be young kids as young as 9-years old bouldering with their parents. You’ll catch seniors climbing to heights while twenty-somethings stand back in awe.
There are young couples enjoying an afternoon at the climbing wall and solo guys showing off their muscles.
Indoor climbing attracts a wide variety of people from different backgrounds.
Once you start, you’ll get the bug.
You’ll be able to enjoy the benefits of climbing into old age. Best of all, because of indoor climbing, you stand a better chance of making it as well.
Why You Should Try Indoor Climbing?
Indoor climbing has so much to offer people. This is not just a sport like any other.
No other sport offers you countless opportunities to make friends.
There is no other place you can gain the benefits of mindfulness while also getting ripped to the max.
Do you want to learn about other exciting outdoor sports? Check out our blog post on snowboarding for beginners.