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The Benefits of Rock Climbing for Your Mind

Posted on: September 5th, 2014 by Quik Shade

Rock climbing

Rock climbing, whether you do it indoors on a rock-climbing wall, or outdoors offers a great full-body workout. It strengthens your muscles and provides a cardio-workout as well. Rock climbing has many benefits, but most people only focus on the physical benefits. Many people do not realize that this fun activity can also provide numerous advantages for your mind as well.

Builds Cognitive Function

One of the best reasons to rock climb is that it enhances your cognitive function. Rock climbing, especially outdoors, forces you to use and further develop your problem solving skills. You have to work out which hand or foothold to use, and if you find yourself in a bind, you have to figure out how to get yourself safely on your way without panicking. You will have more determination and be able to control negative emotions and thinking, especially those based on fear. You will be able to stay calm and assess the situation and find the best way to solve the problem. You also develop better planning, decision making and goal setting skills, which can transfer into other areas of your life.  

Additionally, rock climbing uses both your left and right side of the brain. This type of brain integration can help to strengthen the interconnections within the brain, including the neuro-connective pathways. This can enhance your overall brain function for all areas of life.

Helps build Your Body-Mind Connection

Rock climbing enhances your body awareness, especially your motor skills, spatial awareness and hand-body coordination. To succeed at rock climbing, you have to know how your body works and be able to see a hand or foothold and easily grab it. By engaging in rock climbing, you build your ability to use you body and improve your motor skills. Additionally, it builds your self-esteem because you know you can do anything you set your mind to do.

Reduces Stress

Exercise helps to reduce stress in many different ways, including reducing the levels of norepinephrine in the body, a neurotransmitter associated with the body’s stress response. Additionally, exercise releases endorphins to produce a positive boost in mood that can help with a variety of mental illnesses, including depression, anxiety, and more. Rock climbing has additional benefits beyond just the stress relief from normal exercise by creating additional feelings of euphoria and blocking feelings of pain. Furthermore, you have to focus your brain on the task at hand. This can help you to forget about the stressors of life and find a way to rejuvenate yourself, as well as creating a meditative effect.

Benefits of Being outdoors

Although you can gain many of these brain-boosting benefits from climbing indoors, the best benefits of rock climbing for your mind come from being outdoors. Numerous studies have found that being in nature provides a calming effect that reduces stress, improves mood, and enhances your overall health and well being.

Additionally, climbing outdoors can also increase your creativity, as you will have to figure out how to get up and down the path. It can also decrease the symptoms of ADHD and several mood disorders, including depression and anxiety. When you climb up a rock face and get to the top, you can enjoy the beauty of the surrounding landscape and disappear in the serenity of it, which will provide your mind with some much-needed rejuvenation.

The next time you are looking for a way to exercise your brain, try going rock climbing. You will get a great workout for your body, as well as enhance your mood, cognitive function, and facilitate a tranquil state of mind. Additionally, you will have experiences that few people have and might just find a brand new hobby. 

photo credit: Susanica via photopin cc

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