Imagine this. You’re clinging to a massive rock-face, with the ground far away below, and a good amount of air between. The sun beats down on your back, warming the rock under your fingertips. You can hear the fragmented voices of your climbing buddies drifting up, but up here, it’s kinda quiet. All you can hear is the birds that fly by, and the sound of your own heart beating in your chest.
Scrambling up bare rocks is one of our favourite adventure sports. It involves great thrills, but even greater strategizing and planning. It makes you use everything from your muscles to your concentration skills, and gives you a buzz of adrenaline like few other activities. Here’s why rock-climbing is the perfect outdoor workout for your mind and body.
Rock-climbing for your body
When you’re climbing, your whole body gets a thorough workout. You’ll use your arms, shoulders and upper body to pull yourself up, with your own body weight acting as resistance. You’ll also use your legs, calves and glutes to push yourself up to create leverage. A good session of outdoor climbing should give you a high-intensity cardio workout along with strength training, making the fat melt off and your muscles pop. And of course, with all that moving and stretching and sweating, you’re going to get that body of your dreams pretty soon. Rock-climbing burns an amazing 500 calories an hour, or more, depending on a lot of factors.
Rock-climbing for your flexibility
Rock-climbing puts you in all sorts of poses as you extend yourself to a crevice or a handhold. You’ll be stretching, reaching, twisting, and pushing to get into the right position to make your next move. When you’re spending most of your day at a desk, a session of climbing gives you a good stretch and helps keep those muscles limber.
Rock-climbing for your stamina
They say that adventure teaches you life skills and alters your personality, and rock-climbing is a prime example of that. When you find yourself in a difficult position on a rock-face, all you have is your wits and your body to get you out. This is when that goddamn stubborn attitude of yours comes into play. There’s nothing like a little challenge to get you fired up and in the zone! And the thrill of conquering a stubborn rock face or completing a tricky section far outweighs the aching muscles you’ll feel at the end of the session. You’ll do anything you can to manoeuvre into a winning position. Can you think of ways that this might come in handy in real life? That brings us to our next point.
Rock-climbing for your life skills
We’re not counting just the physical benefits of rock-climbing; you’ll also learn about charting, planning and making routes. You’ll have to use maps and read weather forecasts, and you’ll find yourself sitting and staring at a rock until you figure out the best way to climb it. You’ll have to take decisions under pressure, while hanging off the side of a mountain. And the lessons you learn out here are the ones you carry into your everyday life.
Rock-climbing for your mind
Being out in the wild, using your body in a way that is both primitive and supremely satisfying, and focusing your energy on something other than your own life can really give you perspective. After all, it’s kinda hard to think of your problems as insurmountable in the face of an immobile, massive bare rock.
Like many adventure sports, rock-climbing is great for your mental health too. The eternal battle of man vs mountain begins every time you set foot on the rock, and the battle sharpens your mind. Some climbers find that this is the best time to work through the issues that are troubling them. Rock-climbing also relieves stress, builds confidence, and teaches you to trust your instincts.
How to get started with rock-climbing
Many big cities have an indoor climbing wall at the local sports centre or climbing school. You can sign up for lessons to learn the basic manoeuvres and moves in a controlled environment before you head into the outdoors to test your skills.
If you’re looking for a rock-climbing adventure in India, here are some options:
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