You may be currently thinking about starting rock climbing as a hobby but want to know more about it and how it can benefit you. This sport is seen quite frequently in movies and television so you could already have a general idea of what is involved. This article will go over how rock climbing can produce positive mental and physical results, as well as what makes it fun and how to go about getting started.
So, is rock climbing a good hobby? Rock climbing is a hobby that’s growing in popularity all around the world as an excellent way to find a supportive community while increasing your self-confidence and giving your body a healthy workout. This sport is also quite versatile since you can rock climb pretty much anywhere, and there is an increase in the amount of indoor rock climbing centers in most major cities. Whether you are looking to get healthy, find a form of stress relief, or just like the idea of learning how to scale insanely tall boulders, you will find rock climbing to be a one of a kind experience.
- How Rock Climbing as a Hobby Can Improve Your Life Mentally and Physically
- Is Rock Climbing an Expensive Hobby?
- Is Rock Climbing a Good Form of Exercise?
- Is Rock Climbing Hard for Beginners?
How Rock Climbing as a Hobby Can Improve Your Life Mentally and Physically
As hobbies go, rock climbing may seem more serious and time-consuming when compared to things like painting or tennis, but there are some great reasons to start climbing. Below we have listed a few of the ways this sport can be fun and beneficial.
Reaching the top of a wall after climbing every inch of it yourself has a way of instantly boosting your confidence in yourself and your abilities. If you routinely suffer from a lack of self-esteem or self-confidence, then this sport is an excellent way to get it back. It is also an excellent source of emotion regulation (i.e., the ability to control your feelings). Scientific researchers in Germany and New Zealand discovered that “rock climbing is associated with acute emotion regulatory effects,” which makes it ideal for anyone experiencing depression or anxiety. You can read the rest of their research in this article.
Heightens and Trains Ability to Focus
In rock climbing, the goal is just getting to that next ledge and the one after that until you have scaled the obstacle. Your mind is laser-focused on your body and the rock wall. Climbing routes up a rock wall or boulder are colloquially known as “problems” because it takes some brainpower to think your way through the best grips to choose as you move upward to give you the most efficient, fastest path to the top.
Almost every part of your body will get a workout from rock climbing. That even includes tiny muscles and tendons like those in your fingers and toes. You can enjoy a feeling of accomplishment after using every muscle group to pull yourself up to the top of a wall. In addition to being a physically demanding and rewarding hobby, rock climbing also works out your brain. A 2018 study from the Medical University of Lublin in Poland concluded that climbing improved several areas, including “faster recognition and differentiation of tactile input and better spatial perception, tactile perception, and movement memory.” Another study indicated that memory was improved by up to 50% for people who routinely climbed.
Joining a Community
There is a large rock climbing community that is supportive and open to new and veteran climbers. Most cities now have some kind of indoor climbing center where groups meet, and it is easy enough to get to talking with your climbing neighbor as you both scale up a wall. This can be a great source of socialization for those who usually are not great in social situations. There are also a lot of national and international rock climbing groups and organizations that have events and provide a place for people to share their interests with other like-minded people.
Stress and Depression Relief
Quite a few studies have shown a positive relationship between rock climbing and improvements in depression symptoms. You can read one of those articles here. They found that “bouldering has a number of […] important characteristics that make it especially beneficial for the treatment of depression, namely that it helps boost self-efficacy and social interactions.” Also, Indiana University did a study that showed the way climbers had to focus on their route up the wall helped to decrease stress significantly.
What is Fun About Rock Climbing?
There are plenty of ways rock climbing can be enjoyable. We have detailed some of the most common ones so that you can get an idea of what positive factors come with climbing.
Discovering New Places
Rock climbers all over the world find and share their favorite walls and routes so that other climbers can enjoy them as well. There are some trendy areas that people can travel hundreds of miles or more to visit so that they can experience it. This allows them to discover places and travel to areas that perhaps they would have never seen otherwise. You can share your favorite sites with the community and go to those suggested by others.
There are local, online, and international communities of rock climbers that get together to share their tips, experiences, and love of the sport. Also, you can strike up friendships with people that grow beyond the hobby. Many people find life-long friends in this way. Even if you are not looking to expand your social circle, there are plenty of social interactions when climbing. Indoors you will have wall climbing buddies who are doing their own route. Outdoors you can bring friends to climb. There are plenty of great memories to be made with this hobby.
Witnessing Your Own Growth
Your confidence and health will improve when you start climbing. Being able to see yourself set goals and then meet them over and over can lead to some very satisfying self-growth. The successes are concrete and lead to even bigger walls and routes to overcome. If you have a mental health disability or goal with your physical health, then meeting those will also be memorable experiences. Doing this with your friends at your side makes the journey fun and unforgettable.
Is Rock Climbing an Expensive Hobby?
We have an article that goes over in detail what the costs are associated with rock climbing materials and indoor rock climbing sessions. You can read it here. Overall it is a very affordable hobby with a good pair of climbing shoes being the most expensive piece of gear for a new climber. They run around $175 and add that to an approximately $15 indoor climbing session, and you are kitted out.
If you want to climb outdoors or do bouldering, then there are a few more costs associated since there will be more gear, and you do not want to skimp on quality to save a few bucks when it comes to getting the right materials. Rock wall climbing outdoors will run you about $400-500 for everything you will need, and bouldering is around $400 (this includes shoes, chalk, a chalk bucket and a crash pad). These are approximated costs based on averaging out the prices of different brands. Compared to other hobbies that are an affordable, one-time start-up cost to begin climbing and well worth it from the benefits that you will gain.
Is Rock Climbing a Good Form of Exercise?
Climbing in any form is an excellent source of exercise as long as you make sure to talk to your doctor and make sure that you are starting at an appropriate level. You need to build up muscles. This is especially true for the muscle groups that may have previously gotten minimal exercise. It is a phenomenal cardiovascular workout, and since every problem is different, your route will have you working muscle groups that perhaps your last climb did not. This means you are getting an overall increase in strength and muscle tone.
It has also been shown in research that hand grip is significantly increased by rock climbing. One thing that all climbers have in common is powerful forearms, hands, and digits, which allows them to move effortlessly between handholds while they ascend and descend. This hobby is a fantastic source of exercise when you listen to your body and stop if anything starts hurting. Make sure that you get a medical check-up if you believe that you may have strained or sprained something.
Is Rock Climbing Hard for Beginners?
This is one of the most accessible activities to start. You do not have to be especially fit though that will make it easier to move up in the intensity levels of the climbs. Wearing the right gear will ensure that you have a much better experience as a beginner. It is also great to have someone who can climb with you. It is more fun and if they have experience you can learn some great tips.
Take it easy when you first start. Your body will need to adjust to the new use of your muscles, and if you have never worked on increasing your grip strength, it might take some time to build it up. Hangboards and other helpful exercises and tools will be useful in this area. We have an article with more information on hangboarding here. Once you get started, you will be hooked on this exciting and fun hobby.