One of the huge attractions at Kelsey Kerridge is the climbing wall.
The climbing centre, with its 200 square metre wall surface attracts people of all ages and abilities. People who have a go at the activity tend to be instantly hooked, not just because of the adrenaline rush that clambering up vertical walls provides but because of the nature of the activity.
The challenge of climbing
This is because climbing – whether on rocks or bouldering – is truly an activity where it is you versus yourself. Climbing or bouldering invites you to challenge and push yourself, so it stops you thinking about competing or gaining the approval of others. Through climbing you develop the ability to push yourself, achieve more and set (and reach) new limits. And beyond the climbing wall, that is an important life skill.
Physical and mental benefits
Climbing is very different activity to many of the fitness and exercise activities you normally undertake. It presents very different physical and mental challenges. It often involves holding your body weight in a static hold for a long while, with muscles constantly tense. That is very different to any other form of weight training. For people who are looking to add some variety to their routine and push their muscles beyond their usual limits, this could provide the answer.
Bouldering or climbing will help you develop a range of different muscle groups. Your arms, particularly your fore-arms, will become much stronger because you are using them to traverse the wall. Your grip will also strengthen quite dramatically.
A workout for the back and core
The entire shoulder area and back will become very toned the more you climb. Your shoulders are integral to keeping your body stable on the climbing wall or rock face. When it comes to holding positions as you contemplate your next move, your back and core will be working incredibly hard to hold you in place.
One area that is often overlooked is the neck. During your time on the wall, you are constantly looking around to check the best route. This constant movement, combined with the positions you will be holding on the face of the wall, means your neck becomes steadily stronger.
Legs are important to climbers as they are used to push your body upwards. While climbing is not exhausting for the legs, the main muscles will get a good workout. Strong legs, particular thighs, are a must as you make your way up the wall.
So much more than a workout for the arms
Climbing is pretty much a full body workout and will improve your strength, endurance and power in most muscle groups. Many people mistakenly think climbing is all about arm strength, but you will quickly discover that all muscles are needed as you make your way up and across the climbing wall.
The psychological side of climbing is beneficial in so many ways. It stimulates and improves your cognitive ability, problem solving skills, concentration levels and confidence.
Becoming more self aware
Possibly the biggest psychological advantage offered by climbing is the ability to develop self awareness. When on a rock face or boulder wall, you have to be aware of the space around you and how you are moving through it.
Then there is the stress relief that comes with climbing. Somehow bills and work issues seem a long way away when you are hanging from a rock face.
You will also discover that it also helps with goal-setting – as you face the challenge of negotiating the wall or rock face in front of you, you have to set goals and work out how you will achieve them. That is a skill that is transferable to so many other areas of life.
And finally, there is the self confidence that comes from climbing. Somehow the challenge of speaking to a room full of people, pitching an ice ago your boss or going to an interview for a new job doesn’t seem as daunting when you have conquered a tricky rock face.
If you are new to climbing or would like some advice on getting the most from your session on the wall, speak to one of the fitness staff at Kelsey Kerridge. Also check out this link for some tips on successful climbing/bouldering.