By Larry Moore
Perhaps at the start of 2017 you vowed to try a new sport, to get stronger, or to workout more. If you’ve let these resolutions fall by the wayside, don’t worry — it’s not too late.
Climbing is a great way to not only get fit, but also to mentally stimulate your brain, and perhaps make some new friends.
If you are not yet a climber, here are four reasons why you should get vertical. And if you are a climber, share this with your friends and encourage them to join in the fun.
- CHALLENGE YOUR BRAIN
Whether indoors or outdoors, climbing can be one of the most mentally stimulating activities you can find. Whether you are solving the puzzle of how to execute a climb or talking yourself through a particular move, climbing’s mental game is absolutely critical. Understanding the possibility of movement through a limited number of holds, while engaging your body at its physical limit, requires a finely tuned mind. The ability to stay calm and confident, while executing physically challenging moves high off the ground demand a Jedi-like focus. Thinking through the correct safety protocol is absolutely essential and must be done with clarity and precision. Perhaps this is why the sport of climbing attracts highly intelligent people.
- BUILD YOUR OVERALL STRENGTH AND FITNESS
Though you might not think of climbing as cardio, it definitely gets your heart pumping. When training, all climbers need to focus on overall strength and fitness, from upper to lower body and including their core. In fact, core strength is the key to being able to use your feet on steep terrain, which saves your upper body strength. The best climbers are fit from head to toe, with great power and lasting endurance. That’s why so many extreme athletes use climbing as a form of cross training and why climbers often win the American Ninja Warrior competitions.
Did you know that women especially tend to excel at climbing? That’s because they naturally utilize their core and lower body strengths, and tend to be more flexible. Many people think upper body strength is the key to climbing. This common misconception is often proven wrong by women, who finesse their way through climbs that strong men struggle on.
One of the best parts of climbing is that it takes you to some of the most beautiful places on Earth! Picture the Yosemite Valley or Joshua Tree, the French Alps or beaches of Greece; these are your playgrounds as a climber. Whether traveling locally, nationally or even internationally, climbers are constantly meeting people from all across the globe, making friends and climbing partners for their next adventure. Climbing adventures might take the form of car camping or multi-day treks into the wilderness. Camping often adds to the adventure of enjoying outdoor climbs, and allows for the enjoyment of other activities, like biking or kayaking. One of the thrills of climbing is visiting new destinations. The best climbing destinations happen to be all over the world, in some of the most beautiful settings – so prepare for your next adventure!
- JOIN A UNIQUE AND FUN COMMUNITY
Climbers are fun, intelligent, and adventurous people who build strong communities all over the world. Whether supporting their local climbing areas with trail work and cleanup projects or building schools in Third World countries, climbers help build communities. Climbers travel around the world to different destinations, learning of new cultures and sharing ideas or techniques with like-minded people who share the same passion. The climbing community is one of the most positive, welcoming groups of people you may ever encounter.
Come join the community of climbers and enjoy your passport to fun and friends across the globe!
Larry Moore is the Head Climbing Team Coach at the Vail Vitality Center, which is home to Vail’s only indoor climbing wall. There’s a variety of climbing classes offered weekly, including Family Classes, Community Classes, Women’s Climbing Night, Beginner Climbing and even a kid’s climbing team. To learn more, visit www.vailvitalitycenter.com/climbing/.