We can’t think of a better way to get fit, get healthy, and enjoy life. Climbing is probably the best all around workout I can imagine. There’s really nothing like it. The nature of the sport leads to a healthy lifestyle by default. You can’t climb well and be unhealthy. Just look around the gym. Do people there look healthy? Do they look like they’re having fun?
Climbing is just so much fun, you don’t realize how healthy it’s making you!
Here are our stories:
I grew up in a small northern town in British Columbia, Canada. We didn‘t have a climbing gym. I did try rock climbing once or twice indoors with a school group in a town several hours away. I ended up relocating to the same town for work in my early twenties. I bought some climbing shoes, a chalk bag. I started out bouldering and traversing in the gym and was immediately hooked. I'd spend hours climbing until my arms gave out just traversing laps around the gym. There was no looking back!
Later I moved to Vancouver, B.C. where there was multiple indoor climbing gyms and some world class outdoor climbing less than an hour away! I was in heaven. I had never been the type of person to spend much time lifting weights, or running to stay fit. These activities bored me and always struck me as work. Climbing on the other hand was fun! I was exercising, gaining in strength, flexibility and having more fun than ever.
Climbing has kept me healthy and fit during some hard times in life. I've given up smoking and other unhealthy habits, because they were detrimental to my climbing. Looking back over the last decade, many of the best friends I've met and best times I've had are thanks to climbing. Climbers are often the most humble, down to earth, and nicest people you will ever meet. I think the sport keeps people this way. There a special kinship within the climbing community that I haven’t really seen in anything else. I sincerely hope this little blog helps you find some new pleasures in your life through climbing. Climb on!
I tried climbing once as part of a group event with a hiking club, and I fell in love with it. I decided right then that I wanted to get into it. The combination of physical and mental challenge was right up my alley!
But...it still took me over a year to actually “get into it.” Why? I simply didn’t know how to get into it. I didn’t know all the lingo or even how to climb, I didn’t have any friends to climb with, and it was all very intimidating. Hopefully this blog will eliminate that barrier to entry for you!
I was already very active when I first started climbing. I hiked a ton, did martial arts, and practiced yoga regularly. But after just a few months of climbing, I lost more weight and got fitter than I’d ever been before.
Climbing is also a great cross-training activity, since it sharpened my reflexes in kungfu and strengthened my legs for hiking. It’s a full-body workout, and it took my fitness up a notch faster than any other activity I’ve tried!
More Reasons to Climb:
1) Climbing is fun!
Nothing’s worse than forcing yourself to do 100 situps before bed because you “have to.” With climbing, it’s so much fun that if anything, you have to remind yourself to take rest days to avoid overworking your muscles.
2) It doesn’t have to consume your life.
You don’t have to climb or work out every day to experience the physical benefits. In fact, it’s important to take rest days to allow your muscles to rebuild. Two or three climbing days per week is plenty...though of course if you discover you love it, you could very well let it consume your life. That’s not a bad thing either!
3) You can track your progress.
Climbing routes are graded. Easy climbs are 5.5, 5.6, and 5.7. Moderate climbs are 5.7, 5.8, and 5.9. It usually takes a few months to progress from 5.5 to 5.9, so you experience the immediate gratification of seeing your progress. And each time you make it to the top of a climb without falling, you get an immediate sense of accomplishment, which is a reward in itself.
Difficult climbs start with 10a, 10b, 10c, and 10d, then go up from there: 11a/b/c/d, 12 a/b/c/d, and so on. The hardest route any human has climbed so far is 15c. You can easily track your progress as you get stronger and skilled at climbing. Who knows, maybe you’ll be the first to climb a 15d!
4) It’s a mental challenge, not just physical.
Hiking and running are a blast, but they aren’t that mentally stimulating. In contrast, climbing is as much a mental challenge as it is physical. Not only are you defying your natural instinct to fear falling, but you have to figure out the right sequence to get to the top. Once you get into the moderate grade levels, you won’t just be able to haul your way up with brute strength. You’ll have to think creatively, be a problem solver--cultivating focus and mental fortitude every inch of the way.
5) It’s affordable.
Once you have the basic gear, you’re pretty much set for indoor climbing. It can cost $125 - $200 to get the gear you need for a year or two of gym climbing. Outdoor climbing requires more gear, depending on which type of climbing you do, but it’s still very reasonable compared to sports such as skiing or mountain biking.
So what are you waiting for? If you haven't tried it yet, give climbing a try!