1. Rock climbing is fun for everyone from the beginner to the expert
Starting any new sport can be intimidating, and this is often the case for beginner rock climbers. Yet there is something for everyone in this sport, and that is why it’s number one on our list. You do not need to be an experienced climber to get on the wall and to have a good time.
Rock climbing has a grading system that ranks the difficulty of a route from easy to expert. This means that everyone has a problem (or route) to solve on the wall.
With rock climbing, it doesn’t matter your level of experience, size, age, gender, or body type. After learning the basic movements, anyone can step up to the wall at BKB and start climbing. Although rock climbing recently found a place at the Olympic games, when you enter the climbing gym the only person you’re in competition with is yourself.
2. Rock climbing is a full-body workout
Rock climbing is a full-body exercise involving your legs, arms, core, and even the muscles in your hands. You test your grip strength as you balance your weight from one hold to the next. You engage your core to keep you stabilized with every move. Your arms, back, and shoulders hold you on the wall and navigate every transition. You activate your legs as your base of support, strategically positioning you on the wall.
Not only is every muscle in your body working hard, but the sport of rock climbing involves the use of all types of exercise. It requires strength to move from one hold to another, balance to keep your body stabilized with every move, endurance to keep climbing, and explosive movement or plyometrics to quickly catch a grip. The combination of strength, endurance, balance, and plyometrics all in one is what makes rock climbing the ultimate full-body workout.
With rock climbing, you can strengthen your muscles, develop better flexibility, and increase your endurance without having to stand in a gym and pump iron or suffer through an aerobic exercise like running. For many people who dread working out, aren’t interested in the usual forms of exercise, or are looking to switch things up, climbing is a great outlet for both having fun and building strength.
3. Rock climbing helps increase body awareness
Rock climbing is also a great exercise for the brain. This is because rock climbing is a strategic sport that involves active awareness of body positioning and strategic placement of the hands and toes to move from one hold to another. This helps your brain build better body awareness and coordination.
Many climbers view a climbing problem like a puzzle waiting to be solved, and your body is the puzzle piece that needs to be strategically moved across the wall. How you get from point A to point B requires an incredible amount of awareness of your body and the placement of your limbs.
This body awareness, or proprioception, is not a skill that we focus on in everyday life. With rock climbing, you become hyper-aware of where to position your arms, fingers, legs, and toes on the wall and every movement requires careful consideration. Every time you climb, you not only build up your strength but also your body awareness. This is a helpful skill not only for climbing but for movement in everyday life.
4. Rock climbing builds confidence
Overcoming a climbing challenge, such as a fear of heights [link to fear of heights blog post], is a major confidence and self-esteem booster. There is nothing quite like the feeling of accomplishing a difficult problem, overcoming a fear, or completing a climb you have been working on for a while. Finally making it to the top of the wall is an amazing feeling.
Every accomplishment like this that you have on the wall further reinforces your confidence in yourself, signaling that you are capable of overcoming difficulties both on and off the wall. With rock climbing, you have the opportunity to see the result of your hard work and survey the difficulties you overcame to get there.
That is what is so unique about rock climbing, where you can survey and track your progress across the wall. This is why every climb and every problem solved is an opportunity to build confidence and self-esteem.
5. Rock climbing improves your mindfulness
Mindfulness is all about awareness of the present moment. When rock climbing, you have to live in the present and focus all your attention on your current positioning and your next move. Rock climbing hones the basic hallmarks of mindfulness including patience, acceptance, awareness, concentration, and focus.
As you are making decisions with every foothold and climb, you have to be patient with yourself as you make mistakes. When you fall or misstep you have no choice but to accept this mistake, get back on the wall, and try again. To move across the wall your mind can’t be 100 different places. You need a high level of awareness, concentration, and focus to reach success, forcing you to live in the moment and concentrate on the task ahead.
Like many skills gained through rock climbing, this mindfulness practice translates to more than just the wall. The better you get at mindfulness on the wall, the easier it will be to practice off the wall.
6. Rock climbing hones your problem-solving skills
Rock climbing teaches you how to solve problems and build confidence in your decision-making. When you are rock climbing you have to think on your feet (literally) to solve the problem of “where do I go next?” as you navigate up the wall. This is why rock climbing helps fine-tune decision-making skills and improves your confidence in making better-informed and quicker decisions.
Routes in climbing are “problems” because they need solving. The right move to make is not always immediately obvious and there might be many ways to solve it. You have to weigh a lot of different factors as you make decisions on the wall, such as your size, your experience, your strengths, and your weaknesses. How one climber solves a problem might be different than another climber.
That is what makes climbing so exciting for many people. It is a humbling experience to try again and again until you get it right. In the process, you learn how to become not only a better climber but a better problem solver.
7. Rock climbing helps reduce your stress
For many people, quarantine has added more pressure and stress to everyday life. Increased parent responsibilities, financial setbacks, job loss, restrictions limiting social interactions, and feeling pent up or lonely at home, are some examples of stress you might be experiencing right now. Climbing can be a great outlet to reduce some of that stress.
You might look up at that wall and wonder how anyone could feel less stressed while climbing. Yet, the focus required on the wall is, for many, a way to remove themselves from the stressors of everyday life and just focus on the task in front of them. This focus on mindfulness can help reduce your stress levels.
Exercise also helps release hormones like serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. The release of these hormones improves your mood and energy levels. Not only does rock climbing provide this and other benefits of exercise, but it also involves a layer of excitement that might not exist in other sports or activities. As you overcome challenges and fears on the wall, you are helping to improve your mood and reduce your stress.
8. Rock climbing helps you meet new friends + build a community
For many climbers, the best part about the sport is the climbing community. At BKB our community comes together to support every climber, to laugh and enjoy the journey on the wall, and to push one another to greater heights.
While remaining socially distant and safe, there are still ways you can interact with, socialize, and build friendships at BKB. Whether you are resting between problems, getting beta (or suggestions) from another climber on the wall, or belaying, there are so many chances to start conversations, make valuable friendships, and become a member of our community.
Quinn, General Manager of our Gowanus BKB location, talks about what community means at BKB: “When I started climbing at BKB with my partner in 2015, one of the things that kept us coming back again and again was the sense of community. There were so many people here, of different backgrounds and ages, at every skill level, all unified in their commitment to cheering one another on. Watching this community encourage each other is what drew me in and made me want to become a part of the team.”
9. There is always more to learn with rock climbing
There is no such thing in climbing as running out of things to learn or ways to improve. There are always new problems, grades to try, styles to learn, skills to build, locations to scout, rock types to master, and muscles to build. You always are learning how to adapt to your next problem or master a new way to get up the wall.
What makes it so easy to get hooked to rock climbing is how clearly you can monitor and track your progress. This makes it so that every climb becomes about self-improvement and challenging yourself to do better or climb higher next time.
For beginner rock climbers, this progress and improvement is noticeable right from the start. It is amazing how quickly your body can learn, adjust, and adapt to your surroundings and before you know it, you will come back excited the next day to try that problem again.
10. It’s easy to get started!
At BKB it is easy to get an introduction to the sport of rock climbing. There are two experiences we recommend for the beginner climber. These include our Intro to Climbing 60-minute session which will introduce you to bouldering and our Learn the Ropes 90-minute session which will introduce you to top-roping.
Both classes are in a safe and small-group setting where you can learn the basics, meet new climbers, and receive expert advice on how to make tweaks and important corrections to your climbing technique. Once you learn the basics, you can make a reservation and come back to the wall anytime to hone those skills.
A quick note on our COVID-19 safety + community health
On the top of everyone’s minds right now is safety. Keeping our community healthy during COVID-19 is BKB’s top priority. Our teams have put in place Community Health Standards to ensure that we are keeping our locations as clean and as safe as we can. We want everyone to be able to experience the love of climbing while following the CDC’s guidelines for safety. So we thank you for following our community health guidelines and for keeping everyone safe.
So, what are you waiting for? Get started with the full-body + brain workout that is rock climbing, meet new friends, and have an amazing time at BKB. We can’t wait to see you on the wall!
Have more questions about what to expect? Check out our FAQs + don’t hesitate to reach out to our team if you have more questions.