While rock climbing is often seen as a way to get outside and enjoy nature, when done properly it can also provide many exercise benefits. No matter if you are interested in improving your cardiovascular health, toning muscles, or losing weight, rock climbing may be just what the doctor ordered!
Improved Cardiovascular Health
One of the most important exercise benefits associated with rock climbing is the effect on your cardiovascular health. Your cardiovascular system is composed of your heart, veins, arteries, and other components that help both in the delivery of blood to the heart as well as from the heart to the rest of your body. When your cardiovascular system is not working properly, you can experience negative results such as increased shortness of breath, dizziness, or heart attacks. Research has found that the only way to improve your cardiovascular system is by participating in exercise that stresses the heart and accessory organs. Some examples of cardiovascular activity include walking, biking, swimming, and, of course, rock climbing. If you have a low tolerance to cardiovascular activity, be sure to start slowly and work your way up. For example, you may want to start with five minutes of rock climbing, and add an additional five minutes each week until you are climbing for 30 minutes. Research by the American Medical Association has found that this amount of time is optimal in order to achieve the greatest cardiovascular health benefits.
Another exercise benefit associated with rock climbing is weight loss. In one pound of fat there are 3500 calories. Therefore, in order to lose one pound of weight per week, you must eliminate 500 calories each day. This can be done in a number of ways. First, you can change your diet around so that you are eating 500 fewer calories. Secondly, you can exercise enough that you burn 500 calories. Finally, you can use some combination of diet and exercise in order to achieve your weight loss goals. While most people find that using a combination of these two components works best, exercise is probably the most important factor. Rock climbing at a moderate intensity for around one hour will burn around 400 calories.
Increased Muscle Tone
Finally, one of the most obvious exercise benefits associated with rock climbing is the increase in muscle mass and tone. Rock climbing is a great exercise because it targets muscles in the arms, chest, back, and even the legs. This makes it a great exercise for people who don't have a whole lot of time. They can get a total body exercise in with only one type of workout!
Location, Location, Location
If you don't live in an area where you have access to outdoor rock climbing, many gyms have indoor rock climbing walls that will work your muscles out just as hard.