Fitness should be functional and there is nothing more functional than being able to move your body around, up, down, upside down and sideways. It’s time to climb.
One of the beauties of climbing is that once your on the wall there’s no real way to take a break. Because of our natural desire not to fall we’ll push our bodies to its limit so that we don’t go splat. Death is a great motivator.
While on deployment in Guam we would spend hours in our climbing gym just doing “laps”. When you go to your climbing gym find a route and just keep repeating it over and over as fast as you can and you’ll quickly find yourself dry heaving from exhaustion. Shortly after my time in Guam I was doing a “hook and climb” to take down a ship. I had barely made it to the top when I looked down to signal the next guy not to go. I was too late and because of the extreme angle and height he went flying off the side of the ship and nearly broke his back. Climbing fitness saved my butt that day.
Balance & Poise
When it gets right down to it the ultimate purpose of any training regime is functionality. What’s the point of being able to bench 250 pounds if you can’t lift your body atop a mountain, a fence or a rooftop?
Climbing develops all of those small muscles and instincts allowing you to control and move your body in effective and efficient ways. Even if you’re just scrambling down a dry river bed or running across a reef you’ll notice an increased ability to judge space and time as well as safely make your way across non-linear terrain.
Strength & Muscle Tone
Have you ever seen a fat climber? Because of the endurance aspect of the sport climbers tend to be very strong and extremely toned. I’m not talking about the kind of strength that allows you to lift a Volkswagon, I’m talking about the kind of strength that allows you to carry your body, other people’s bodies and heavy loads up and across any environment. It’s a hardcore workout.
Finally the pinnacle of fitness… Weight Loss. There are so many things people think are important in regards to their physical health. What kind of food you eat, supplements, sun screen… whatever. But at the end of the day being fat is the least healthy thing you can do to yourself. This is why insurance companies charge you more for life insurance when you’re a chubbster. Skipping processed foods but keeping 10 extra pounds on your body makes no sense. You have to shed the pounds and climbing at its core helps with this.
Some sports – like rock climbing – will help you shed the pounds for reasons beyond physical exercise. Rock climbing is a lifestyle that naturally promotes healthy eating and exercise. Think about it like this. If you’re at a bowling alley nachos, beer and hotdogs sound perfect don’t they? Now think about being at the bottom of a granite face or indoor climbing wall. Feels more like water and a granola bar doesn’t it?
There are indoor climbing gyms everywhere and if you’ve never been it’s time to go. The people who own and operate these things are usually down to earth and they’ll help get you started.