Our modern age is saturated with technology. Children learn how to operate a smart phone before they even walk or talk. Without even trying, a kid can spend a majority of their waking hours in front of a screen, never seeing the light of day or getting any much-needed physical activity. While there are numerous benefits to technology, the stagnant lifestyle that it contributes to our society has a negative impact on a child’s health and development.
If you find this alarming, you might be looking for great outdoor adventures or fun family activities to get your kids involved in, so that they unplug from technology and exercise. One great option that both you and your children can be enriched by is rock climbing. In addition to being an extremely fun physical activity, rock climbing offers a variety of benefits that are great for both developing youth, and “mature” bodies. We’ve listed an overview of these benefits below.
Six Physical Benefits to Rock Climbing
- Rock climbing offers cardio exercise and strength training in a single workout.
The physical excursion that is required to reach to the next handhold and pull the body towards it increases the heart rate and creates a great cardio workout. The act of the arms and legs support the body’s weight against gravity develops balance, endurance, and muscle building. Some research suggest that rock climbing has the same caloric and muscle-toning impact of running an eight to 11 minute mile for for the same length of time. This is great for helping the body grow and develop healthily, and also is a great source for burning calories, for those of us who are in “maintenance” mode of development.
- Rock climbing incorporates incredible muscle toning stretches.
There are very few other exercises that incorporate virtually every single muscle group in the body. As the calve muscles push the body upwards, the abs contract to hold the body close to the wall, and the biceps and triceps reach for the next rock and cling to it; every aspect of the body is toned and strengthened.
- Rock climbing promotes flexibility.
The act of rock climbing involves reaching and stretching further than the climber’s natural comfort range, and engaging muscles as they pull their body from one handhold to the next. This type of exercise improves flexibility, the climber’s range of motion, and improves their blood circulation, even when they are not in an active state.
- Rock climbing improves mental clarity. The act of rock climbing requires the climber to exercise their brains too. The climber must strategically calculate a number of factors to balance the body in one particular arrangement of hand and footholds, while moving to another stance, all while defying gravity, to find the next stable stance. The problem solving and strategizing involved in successfully making the climb up the wall sharpens the mind and improves the climbers mental clarity.
- Rock climbing reduces stress and anxiety.
Any form of exercise improves the body’s production of endorphines in the brain, which contributes a greater sense of satisfaction. The physical activity involved in rock climbing also increases the brain’s production of norepinephrine, a hormone that gives us a sense of relaxation. The improved balance of neurotransmitters contributes to rock climbers ability to ease stress levels and anxiety on their own. In fact, the methodical process of climbing often puts a rock climber in a zen state as they workout, and gives them a sense of accomplishment and euphoria when they overcome a difficult challenge.
- Rock climbing reduces the risk of chronic disease.
The physical benefits mentioned above culminate to give rock climbers a healthier lifestyle with a lower risk of many common diseases. Improved blood circulation, muscle tone, and regular cardio activity sharply reduce the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and cholesterol issues, and even diabetes. The mental workout and the stress reduction aspects of rock climbing improve a climber’s mental health and reduces their risk of some mental illness.
If you want to get your child away from the TV and involved in a fun and physically-enriching activity, there are not many other activities that beat the physical, mental, and total-body benefits of rock climbing!