Athletes looking for a new form of exercise should try to integrate rock climbing into their fitness regime. Rock climbing is perfect for the intellectual fitness enthusiast because it combines strategy with new forms of cross-training. Ascending a cliff, boulder or the indoor versions requires an incredible about of physical strength and endurance. A common misconception is that rock climbing requires an incredible amount of upper body strength- a problem for many Wellesley students. However, although upper body strength is always helpful, successful rock climbing requires a combination of intricate footwork, lower body strength and lean muscle mass. Achieving tricky maneuvers and lengthy reaches often requires incredible flexibility. Rock climbing is one of the best way to achieve the best overall fitness. Although not considered cardio per say, rock climbing will inevitably increase your heart rate. In fact, an hour of rock climbing will burn over 700 calories.
Those afraid of heights should still consider rock climbing as most higher climbs have braces and rope supports to ensure there is no danger in falling. Most rock climbing gyms have smaller walls with mats underneath them ensuring that falls will be painless if done correctly-which most gyms will guide you through.
Rock climbing is considered an ideal sport for those looking to exercise both their mind and their body. Climbers usually observe and strategize for climbs before they start, considering potential problem spots and what direction to do the climb. While it may seem intuitive, most climbs cannot be done by just going straight up. Excellent climbers need to be able to move laterally and even hang upside down at points. Rock climbing is also a sport that requires a lot of trial and error. A strategy you thought of may not have been the right call and it’s often hard to know that without actually trying. The sport requires an analytical brain and a resilient spirit. Many climbers claim the victory of reaching the top of a difficult climb far outweighs the frustration of trying and failing often.
In addition, those looking for a social athletic environment will also enjoy rock climbing as there is a lot of collaboration involved. Climbing often involves a belayer, a second person attached to your rope braces, helping weigh the ropes down and adjusting the brace as need be. In addition, before attacking a climb, climbers may consult other on strategies to attack the problem in front of them. A fresh pair of eyes often helps athletes see a route the did not envision before. Students can rock climb year round with outdoor mountain climbs in the summer and then indoor gym climbs in the winter. Although there are debates in the community over whether rock wall climbers are real rock climbers, it is undeniable that climbing a rock wall requires many of the same strategic and physical skill as mountain rock climbing.
Basic skills in belaying and climbing are taught at Wellesley. Wellesley Physical Education offers a rock climbing course using the facilities in the KSC. According to description on the website, the course offers “basic knowledge of belayer/climber communication, rock climbing terms, knots, and movement on rock”. All these skills are very important in order to continue with rock climbing in the future. The rock wall is open to beginner students on Friday 3-6 p.m. and Saturdays 10-1 p.m. Equipment is provided and there is an instructor available to assist beginner students. There are new routes on the Wellesley rock wall which even experienced climbers should consider.
Students hoping to increase their experience in Rock Climbing can find rock climbing gyms around Boston including Brooklyn Boulders Somerville and Rock Spot Climbing. These gyms are a tad bit expensive especially consider they are part of a new wave of hipster gyms which offer a lifestyle change rather than just one service. Brooklyn Boulders in particular often has events sponsored by brewing companies and partnerships with the spoken word program “East Meets Words”. They offer spin classes, a weight room and cardio machines in addition to several climbing options like bouldering.