Rock Climbing for Fun and Fitness

Rock Climbing Fitness

Exercise is an important part of life, but not everyone enjoys the gym. “The problem is, for many of us, exercise can be boring and repetitive. But it doesn’t have to be,” says Elizabeth Harmon, Huffington Post. The secret is to “think outside the barbell,” recommends Dr. Marc Tinsley. There are more ways to live a healthier life than to just go to the gym. Take rock climbing, for example.

“There’s no doubt that climbers know a thing or two about a healthy lifestyle,” says Abigail Wise, Huffington Post. But don’t worry; you don’t have to already be in peak physical condition to start climbing. Rock climbing can be tailored to almost any fitness or experience level, from beginners just starting out to advanced climbers with years of experience.

The Health Benefits of Rock Climbing

“If you’re a rock climbing enthusiast, you can reap some significant health benefits by regularly participating in this type of exercise,” says Erin Coleman, FitDay. “Rock climbing can provide you with both emotional and physical health perks.”

Physical Health Benefits

It should come as no surprise that climbing requires the use of several different muscle groups – abs, obliques, delts, traps, biceps, lats, quads, calves, and even your forearms. “Because you’re working a number of different muscle groups when you rock climb, you’ll increase your strength and muscle definition,” says Coleman.

Climbing also builds endurance. The sports is the perfect combination of strength and cardiovascular workouts.  In fact, Harvard Health Publications reports that a 155-pound person burns about 818 calories hourly during a rock-climbing ascent and 596 calories per hour while rappelling. Wow! According to a 1997 study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, rock climbing is similar to running at a pace between 8 and 11 minutes per mile.

Regular climbing can improve muscle strength as well as stamina.

“From a physical standpoint it’s incredible exercise, but some of the best tidings I get from climbing are what I would define as spiritual,” says Cedar Wright, team climber with The North Face. “From a mental standpoint, climbing is an amazing teacher, instilling focus, balance, determination and a whole … host of valuable life skills.”

Mental Health Benefits

“I think the mental benefits of climbing are a bit more subtle [than the physical ones], and I’m sure they’re different for everyone,” says professional climber Alex Honnold. “But I think it’s a very empowering sport.”

Climbing has been shown to boost brain function. Just think of it this way. Rock climbing is like a puzzle. Yes, it involves physical exertion, but climbing also involves a tremendous amount of problem solving. How do I get from point A to point B in the most efficient way? Climbing requires a tremendous amount of patience, planning and analysis.

“I think the mental side of climbing is often overlooked,” says Alex Johnson, team climber with The North Face. “The movement in climbing up a route often demands body awareness and problem-solving. More often than not, the way to the top is not as direct as you might assume, and it takes laser focus to work through which holds to grab and where exactly to place your foot before shifting your body weight.”

Climbing has even been shown to help improve your mood or decrease bouts of depression. A review published in 2008 in Annals of General Psychiatry found that climbing, along with a variety of different exercises, helped improve the moods of people suffering from depression.

Climbing at Terrapin Adventures

“People often tend to forget about the importance of spending time outside and underestimate the health benefits,” says Urmet Seepter,

Conveniently located in Howard County, Maryland, between Baltimore and Washington DC, Terrapin Adventures features a 43 foot climbing tower with four sides, each taking two climbers at a time. Our routes up and down include some that are flat for beginners and an overhang route for more advanced climbers. Terrapin Adventures encourages participants to push themselves using the climbing walls and overall set-up to expand comfort zones, and help the average person to find an exercise that suits their lifestyle and place to do that exercise in a fulfilling way.

Find Your Next Adventure!

If you have any questions, please call Terrapin Adventure at 301.725.1313, or email us at to learn more.

Works Cited

  1. Coleman, Erin. “Here’s What You Need to Know About Melatonin / Fitness.” FitDay,
  2. Davis, Veronica. “Adventures in Fitness: Is Caving for You?” Natural News Blogs, 1 Apr. 2016,
  3. “Health benefits of rock climbing – Live Well.” NHS Choices, NHS,
  4. Seepter, Urmet. “6 Important Health Benefits Of Fresh Air I Good Relaxation.” Good Relaxation, 21 Nov. 2014,

“Top 10 Health Benefits of Rock Climbing.” Health Fitness Revolution, 26 Oct. 2017,

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