How many times have a I heard the moan “I hate bloody gyms. There’s no way I could run on a treadmill I’d get so bored.” Well luckily for those of you who feel like this, there are other options! Long gone are the days when going to the gym and running on the treadmill, coupled with lifting a few weights here and there was the road to eternal fitness. Nowadays there are so many other ways to keep fit and you don’t even have to look at a gym let alone walk into one.
As I’ve said in the past, I’m determined to get people off their backsides to do something….anything………..just to keep them moving to lose fat. Governments guidelines of working 30 mins five times a week really isn’t a tall order when you think outside the box and discover how many different ways there are to keep the body moving and the oxygen pumping around the body. So today I’m introducing to you to an activity that may be a long distance childhood memory – climbing.
Can you remember how fun it was to climb trees, walls, poles or anything you could think of as a child? Well what’s stopping you now? So what if you’re over five foot tall and have somewhat lost your sense of adventure? You can change that all now!
In the last decade, the sport of rock climbing, once only seen as an extreme sport, has become a mainstream sport. So much so that the popularity of indoor rock climbing facilities has increased too. And much to my excitement, one such facility opened right on my doorstep in South Reading. Not one to hold back, I thought I’d go a try it out 🙂
Firstly I was amazed at how popular it was. I reckon there was about 200 guys of different age and sizes clambering up the walls. BUT that’s not to say women don’t climb because they do and there a few of them. In fact the sport is fast gaining an increased popularity among women. I guess I had just timed it right 🙂 It was like a massive warehouse looking room with 90 climbing lines and an enormous bouldering area. To give you an idea a climbing wall is an artificially constructed wall, sometimes made of brick or wood, but most often a multiplex board that has drilled holes in. The wall has grips for both your hands and feet. As soon as I was given some instructions on health and safety, supplied with shoes and given a harness and shown the ropes (pun intended!) I was off.
What to Expect
As you begin to climb, your body is forced into some positions it never hasn’t visited previously. Climbing is made up of a series of reaches with both your hands and feet. New climbers report sore forearms, hands, fingers, and calf muscles. (yep I sure did). Beginners start with easier climbs, first learning how to tie the safety knots and fasten their harnesses and helmets. Only then are they ready to attempt to climb under the supervision and aid of a trained guide. There are a number of safety and equipment issues to be learned prior to climbing without guidance.As you begin to learn to reach and stretch your limbs to find the very tiny holds that your fingers and toes will grip desperately, your body will be working to provide balance, coordination, and mental focus
Indoors or Out
Indoor climbing centres offer the challenges of climbing that you’ll find on natural outdoor structures–simply indoors. Many people do question the authenticity of indoor climbing; but I’m told that whether you’re climbing indoor or outdoor, the strength, endurance, power, flexibility, and skill gained through indoor climbing will definitely aid you in an outdoor climb. Indoor climbing is also good when the weather hampers outdoor pursuits in winter months.Rock climbing is a multi-dimensional sport from a fitness perspective. Not only do you require strength and flexibility but endurance and skill come into play. It also offers a balance between physical exercise and mental discipline. .
The best bit! Not only do climbers have fun but they quickly begin to develop arm, back, finger, and core strength as a result of the many reaches and holds that are repeated over and over through the climb. Climbing is an excellent sport to increase your level of fitness and to be really accurate, climbing actually gives you an all over body workout because you have to position yourself in so many different ways that you’re using so many different muscle groups. Climbing addresses muscular strength, muscular endurance, body composition and flexibility.
I had a great time in my taster session at the Reading Climbing Centre firstname.lastname@example.org The best bit was that I didn’t even feel like I had had a workout. Mind you my aches reminded me that it was a workout two days later but it was all good because I had fun. Another advantage to climbing is that its extremely social and once you are up for it, you can take part in climbing weekends both here and abroad. So if you still can’t find the momentum to get to a gym then perhaps you can give climbing a try. Have a look online www.climbingcentres.co.uk for an indoor climbing centre near you. Soon you too will be climbing the walls!