Bouldering and rock climbing in general is becoming more popular with every month that goes by.
With 10s of new bouldering gyms popping up across the country each year, never has it been so accessible to the general public.
Aside from being a super fun way of keeping ourselves in shape it has a whole host of other mental and physical benefits which are still being fully understood.
Today we’ll delve into what these benefits are and why climbing could be all you need to reduce anxiety, cultivate happiness and achieve your fitness goals in 2022.
“Why Does Science Say Climbing is Good for Mental Health?”
It’s Sociable Nature
Climbing is a very social sport by nature.
You often meet friends in your local gym or crag and work together to figure out the correct beta for a problem.
Many studies have found that spending time with friends has a direct correlation with lower levels of depression, anxiety and overall stress.
Not got anyone to go climbing with?
Your local gym is a fantastic place to meet new people who share your passion. You’ll even find you see the same faces if you go on the same days each week.
It’ll Take You Into Nature
The longer you stay climbing the more likely it is you’ll eventually get outdoors onto some real rock!
Being in nature has been proven by multiple studies to be fantastic for your overall mental health.
Don’t overlook this aspect of the sport, I bet your first day outdoor climbing will be one you never forget!
It Develops Problem Solving & Communication Skills
Problem solving is at the very heart of what climbing is all about.
As the sport requires the visual analysis of a given route in order to determine the best possible path to reach the top, it is very usual to carry out this analysis in pairs or groups.
The dynamic created is a very interesting one.
You attempt to convey your ideas about the proper posture, angle, and momentum required at each hold to your partners, exhibiting a different kind of communication experienced in normal environments.
Carrying out this helpful communication exercise will teach you to describe the ideas you have to your partners, listen to others, make you feel more comfortable in social situations and build confidence in yourself.
Take it from us, it feels bloody awesome when it all comes together and you finally complete a climb you’ve been trying to figure out for ages.
It’s a Mindful Activity
There have been many studies in recent years which looked into our tendency to live our lives on autopilot, never quite being present in each moment.
Climbing is one of those rare activities where when you’re doing it you’re totally focused on the task at hand.
There’s no time to think “what shall I have for dinner later?” or “did I send that email earlier?”.
Instead you’re totally focused on each hand and foot placement, your body positioning and the next move.
Being present in a moment is a huge part of mindfulness which has been proven to be an effective treatment for mental health problems like anxiety.
To be more mindful you only need to show up at your local climbing gym and be prepared to try a load of problems.
Have you ever noticed a feeling of being mentally refreshed after a good climbing session? Well, now you know why 🙂
It’s Regulates & Stimulates Emotions
Climbing makes you feel an array of emotions. Providing you with positive emotions to leave you buzzing after a good session, as well as the negative emotions we all experience in life which are important to become accustomed to as well.
Let’s run through a few of the emotions you’re likely to feel when climbing:
- That feeling of accomplishment when completing a route.
- The release of endorphins when climbing, leading to feelings of happiness and enjoyment.
- A feeling of fear when in some situations on the wall, training you to deal with fear and stressful situations.
- Feelings of frustration when you can’t complete a climb allow you to become accustomed to these negative feelings.
- Spikes in confidence from overcoming a particular hurdle, move or problem that you never thought possible for yourself.
The negative feelings climbing can instill are just as important as the positive ones.
In life, we all need to be able to deal with success and find ways to be happy.
But it’s also hugely important to learn to deal with negative emotions and feelings, as it’s almost certain we’ll find ourselves in challenging situations where mastering our emotions will lead to a more preferable outcome.
To wrap up, there’s a whole host of benefits to your mental wellbeing when climbing.
Whether you’re looking to be more aware and in tune with your state of mind, to reduce stress and anxiety or to train yourself to deal with difficult situations, climbing will help you on your way!