I was a tad unsure about this one to start with. It looked like fun, but my fear of the unknown made it seem like a way bigger deal than it turned out to be. Now, just a little over a month since my first attempt, I can confidently say I’ve found a new life-long hobby.
Long distances races are fun, but I wouldn’t recommend them to everyone. You really have to love being alone and tortured for that. Rock climbing, however, is something I think EVERYONE and their brother should try.
Here are my top 4 reasons I think you should get out there already:
1. The mental benefits of getting in touch with nature and living in the moment.
People talk about unplugging, getting outside, and living in the moment a lot these days. Plus there are proven benefits to spending time in nature that are hard to ignore.
The idea of just going to sit in a park or at the beach is nice, but how many of us actually take time out of the day to go sit and enjoy our surroundings? Going for a hike is an option, but even then you can zone out and think about work as you’re trekking along.
Climbing gives you both time in nature, and a chance to be mindful. You get to go to some of the most beautiful, places on earth and focus with your whole mind.
When you are climbing, you are forced to be in the moment. It’s truly amazing. Trust me you aren’t going to be climbing up something and thinking about anything other than where to put your hand or foot. It’s the easiest way to start a meditation practice I’ve ever encountered.
2. The rush is just enough.
Adrenaline is fun.
Rock climbing is just enough of an adrenaline rush to be thrilling, but not so terrifying that you need weeks to get up the courage. The trick is to start with someone that knows what they are doing. I thought I’d be way more scared, but my climbing buddy is really good about keeping the line tight and repeating “I’ve got you”. Feeling the line tight makes the whole thing far less scary when you get up high.
3. You have to admit defeat.
A lesson in humility. If you get tired half way up and start to struggle and can’t get past a point, you have to vocally give up. I love this for so many reasons. It’s a clear and simple way to track progress and improvement. It makes it frustrating and rewarding, calming and meditative all at once. Amazing right? It’s essentially yoga on rocks.
Forcing yourself to say out loud “I fail” is liberating. There is no justifying or excuses. All you can do is make a plan to get stronger, more flexible, and smarter.
4. The Fitness!!!
Obviously!! I love fitness. Climbing is strength, flexibility, stamina, and mental fitness all in one. You will use every muscle group, including a few you didn’t realize you had. You’ll move your body in ways you didn’t know you could. You’ll hold on way past when your muscles fail. You’ll push farther than you ever would in a gym (because let’s face it, even with a harness.. falling is scary).
I could go on and explain how strength is improved and you learn more about your body than you thought possible in 1 single hour, but I’ll save you the screen time. Just go out and try it!