Try rock climbing for its benefits

by Ryan Westergaard

Rock climbing not only aids in physical fitness, but also mental health.

Climbing up a 50 foot vertical wall is going to have its challenges. Most of the time, your weight will be evenly distributed through your feet and hands, but sometimes you may have to hold all your body weight up with only your fingertips. Because of this, rock climbing is one of the best ways to quickly improve grip strength and coordination. Best of all, you can increase difficulty as you get better to keep improving.

Rock climbing can even help with depression. A climber will constantly fail. He’ll miss a hold, take the wrong path, slip, and sometimes even fall. The only way to improve is to fail; after enough failures, learning will occur. After continuously missing a hold and falling, a climber will realize he should choose a different path, and then reaches the top.  It makes the brain comprehend that failure is okay, and only leads to improvement.

The fear of heights can also be fixed. But how does dangling from a rope 50 feet up in the air fix the fear of heights? Well, it doesn’t. What fixes it is starting on the ground. You start by climbing up five feet. Once you do, you notice that the rope is holding you safely. So, you go up a few more feet. The rope still has you safe. The process is continued all the way up, and before you know it the fear is gone. The more someone climbs, the less fearful they are of heights.

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