Close your eyes and imagine standing in front of a towering wall with small, colorful holds, scattered around the structure. You look closely at the wall and start climbing up and up. Your every move is methodical, forcing you to think intently and control your body completely. This is a frightening activity, to say the least, but the benefits of climbing for your mental health outweigh the physical ones and you don’t have to be a master of sports to get them out. So the next time you feel anxious, scared, or just stressed from a hard day’s work, challenge yourself to get off the treadmill and climb up the climbing wall, because the view will surely make you feel exponentially more good.
Like many sports, climbing is great for your physical health, as you will certainly notice a definition in the muscles and an overall improvement in your strength, the more you practice – you will also get a surge of endorphins, which in itself is great.
But no matter how much we focus on the physical strength that comes with regular climbing, the benefits to your mental health are many more. Here are 5 things that happen to your brain and psyche when you start climbing regularly:
Climbing teaches you patience
Rome is not built in a day and unless you are a natural rock climber, the chances of feeling exhausted and super tired at first are very high. The thing is, the concept of rock climbing isn’t exactly complicated, is it? You slide on the harness and scale a wall with your bare hands and feet. In reality, however, this type of physical activity actually requires a lot of time and patience to build muscle and gain the knowledge that will help you climb the wall without a problem. In other words, the practice definitely creates perfection when it comes to rock climbing.
Climbing helps you overcome your fears
What are you afraid of? The fear of heights is something that many people experience at the beginning of their climbing endeavors, but when they learn how to overcome this fear, they begin to truly enjoy climbing. Moreover, once you overcome your fear of climbing, you will realize that it is just an emotion and you will begin to overcome other fears that plague you.
Climbing can help you overcome your fears on a physiological level. When you climb, your body releases dopamine (a reward hormone) and serotonin (a happy hormone), which together naturally improve your mental health.
Climbing improves concentration
Patience and concentration go hand in hand and both can be developed as you climb. In fact, one of the best things about climbing is that sport literally forces you to watch and consider every step and every move. There is no room for distraction here.
In life, this is more important than ever. Each of us is busy with many things, thinking about many things, and doing many things. This makes concentration very difficult and almost impossible. However, when climbing, it is necessary because you are constantly forced to evaluate the wall and analyze it to best assess what your next move would be. This puts you in a position here and now, which is extremely important.
Climbing reduces stress
Did you know that, among other things, climbing can reduce stress? You may be wondering how, since the sport itself puts you in a stressful situation? Of course, as you climb, your body is under incredible stress, but the more you go through that stress, the fewer situations in your life will really stress you out. In other words, rock climbing is a kind of reverse psychology. And the more stressed you feel as you climb the wall, the less the small stressful situations in your life will affect you.
Climbing strengthens the connection between mind and body
Climbing is both a physically and mentally engaged sport. With it, you are constantly confronted with puzzles that you have to solve – to collect seemingly impossible sequences and individual physically challenging movements. At the same time, use the upper body to pull the lower body.
Having a strong mind-body connection is also really important when it comes to your mental health. As already mentioned, your physical and mental health feed on each other, and if you experience a lot of stress or anxiety, eventually your body will respond to your hyperactive, nervous state of mind. Rock climbing teaches you how to listen to both your intuition and your body and shows you how to adjust accordingly so that you not only make the right decisions but also feel safe doing so.