Rock climbing can undoubtedly be a daunting activity, especially for those who are new to the sport and even the most experienced climbers can find routes and problems that will challenge them, as how difficult you find something is often relative to how much experience you have. Rock climbing is physically demanding for sure, but it also requires you to problem solve and focus your mind, so you’ll quickly find that you are exercising your brain, not just your body and that this ‘brain exercise’ is great for your overall mental health.
Many people (us included) champion rock climbing as a great stress reliever and being super beneficial to your mental health – here are our top mental health benefits of rock climbing:
Strengthen your mind and body connection
As mentioned, climbing is mentally demanding, not just physical. When climbing you’re constantly confronted with challenges and puzzles to solve and they will require both your mind and body to work in unison in order to overcome them.
Building a strong mind and body connection is really key to maintaining good mental health. Rock climbing teaches you how to listen to your mind and body and teaches you to make quick calculated decisions, whilst also feeling safe doing so.
Learn how to overcome fear
For many people the fear of heights holds them back from trying out rock climbing. Plus, even if you’ve not previously had a fear of heights, climbing a high wall is a completely new experience and can easily bring it on.
By learning how to master your fear (through trust, communication and patience) and understanding you are safe, you’ll realise that your fears are just emotions.
When you climb your body also releases hormones including dopamine (which rewards you) and serotonin (which makes you happy). This is your body naturally assisting you to overcome your fears.
Regular climbing is a great stress reliever
We completely understand if climbing doesn’t exactly sound relaxing. However, this is probably the most powerful mental health benefit of climbing.
That’s not to say climbing is easy, it’s precisely the opposite. But the more you expose yourself to the stresses of climbing the more your mind learns to not let small stresses bother you, both on the wall in your day to day life.
Climbing also focuses the mind so while you’re up there, working out the next move, your brain doesn’t have the capacity to think about the stresses of work – you’re just focused on one thing – climbing.
Learn to be patient
Becoming a skilled climber takes a lot of patience and routes or problems that are hard for you will take time to master.
In theory rocking climbing isn’t a complicated sport, you slip in your harness and start climbing, right? In reality climbing takes a lot of time and patience both to build your muscle strength and also to learn the right techniques and body positions.
Everything in life that’s worth doing takes time and you can apply your new found patience to all parts of everyday life.