What is all the rock climbing hype about? Do you require muscles for the upper body to rock climb? Is it safe? Why should women choose rock climbing as a sport?
Rock climbing is becoming a more prevalent sport of choice among the youth generation. It is a sport where women can participate as well as men. More rock climbing gyms are popping up around the US as well as all over the world. Competitions for rock climbing are also available locally, nationally, and internationally. It is a sport that welcomes all ages and gender.
When starting with rock climbing especially top roping, you do not need to have a strong muscular body to start. It does help to have strong legs or thighs. When climb consistently and over time you will develop the strength and muscles for the upper body and core. Like all sports, the more you climb and practice the stronger and more efficient you become.
When I started climbing, I was over 45 years old. My main worry was broken bones. Am I going to break any bones from this climbing thing since my bones are getting more brittle as my age climb higher? (pun intended) Also, where in the world can I climb if Florida is a swamp land and there is no mountain in sight?
To my surprise, no bones are broken yet. I do pull a muscle or pinch a nerve here and there because I position my body incorrectly every now and then. I sometimes over stretch and pull a muscle when reaching from one position to another. For the most part, my muscles are sore from building more muscles. I have to admit, the recovery time is not as fast as when I was a young pup.
You can pull a muscle or pinch a nerve doing anything such as walking, standing, bending over, etc. Why not rock climb? If someone ask how did you get that bruise, you can reply “Oh, I just bumped my knee against the wall while rock climbing”. Instead of saying “Oh, I just bumped my knee against that darn chair while walking.”
Even though Florida does not have any mountains, it has climbing indoor gyms. I started to learn climbing indoor which is totally recommended for a great place to start. It is safe, convenient and so much fun. This year is my first year to explore climbing outdoor. It is totally a different experience, requires lots of equipment, and a lot of fun as well.
Safety is a number one factor when it comes to climbing. There are always double to triple back up systems for safety reasons, especially climbing outdoor. The indoor climbing facilities generally provide many safety belaying classes for beginning climbers. The climbing floor is usually covered with foam matte for safety falls. The foam mattes are have extra cushions in the bouldering area for a softer fall.
There is always a disclosure and waiver required to sign in climbing gyms when you enter whether you are climbing or not because there is always a risk of getting hurt. The gyms do not want to be liable for everyone mistakes and carelessness.
Seven Reasons Why Climbing is a Great Sport for Women
Here are my reasons:
- Fun – First and foremost important factor in anything that I strife for in life is that it needs to be fun. Rock climbing for me is so much fun. That is the main reason why I started climbing in the first place. Most women are naturally gifted at rock climbing because we have low center of gravity, great balance, and amazing flexibility. We do not rely on only upper body strength hence we adapt climbing skills easily. Give it a try and join me at the Aiguille Climbing Center.
- Challenges the mind and body – As the climbing route gets harder, it is a challenge for me to find my way climbing to the top. I am constantly challenged physically and mentally. Lead climbing is totally scary for me. I occasionally get stuck in my head with the irrational fear of falling. After all I am tie to a rope and a belayer will catch me when I fall. However just the thinking of falling stops me. To help overcome those challenges, I teach myself to take deep breaths and let go of negative thoughts. The key is to keep my mind preoccupied with positive thoughts and breathe the negative ones away. This is a good practice that transcends rock climbing and can be apply to everything else in life.
- Tone the body – Rock climbing activate many muscles in the body including the back, triceps, biceps, fore arms, core, thighs, calves, etc. I climb consistently two to three times a week. My body is stronger and toner than when I was younger. I noticed my triceps and biceps do not have the extra floppy skin and fat.
My stomach flattens further since given childbirth and the unwanted love handles slowly dissolved.
- Socialization fun with partners – Meet new climbers and hang out with old friends. The people who climb are easy going and fun to get along. Everyone support each other in finding the best efficient way to get to the top. We all have the same common interests – rock climbing. Climbing days are my husband and I date nights. =)
- Any age – I have seen as young as four or five year old climbing kid and as old as in the mid 60s. My son climbing coach is in his mid 60s. I found an article regarding a toddler who started climbing when she was eight month old before she could even walk: http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/tot3-becomes-australias-spider-girl-11302903. There is no age limit for rock climbing. The primarily limitation is fear.
- All year round (outdoor and indoor) – We can rock climb all year round. During the spring and summer, we can climb outdoor and during the winter we can climb indoor. Climbing gyms are popping up all over the US that we can practically climb indoor all year round if we choose. There are so many options.
- Sexy Sport – I find rock climbing is the sexiest sport. The women wears tights and yoga blouses showing toned muscles while they climb. Men climb with a tank top reveal the rippling sinewy muscle of the back and arms. Regardless of the visual aspect of the body, I still find rock climbing sexy. It’s sexy to feel good, strong, and proud of my body while climbing.
Feel free to add more reasons in the comment box below. I love to hear your perspectives.