Everyone agrees that if something is fun, it is easier to do. Also, everyone knows that being active is good for your health. However, there is still a high prevalence of physical inactivity worldwide. Common reasons for not being physically active include the lack of time, or motivation and energy to exercise. Also, many assume that physical activity should be in form of gym-workouts or organized exercises, and leading to exhaustion.
In a post from last week, we mentioned that physical activity does not have to feel like a chore. In that case we named trampoline jumping as a great alternative activity. Today, we want to present you another one: bouldering.
What is bouldering?
Bouldering is a form of sport climbing, only at lower heights and without the ropes and harnesses needed with traditional climbing. Injuries from falls are usually prevented by soft mats on the ground. Bouldering can be performed outdoors, climbing small rocks and boulders (hence the name), as well as indoors at climbing or bouldering gyms.
The aim of bouldering is reaching the end (top hold) of a predefined route (problem) by only using your body. Nowadays, bouldering is an organized sport with international competitions and high popularity.
Everyone can do it!
At first sight, bouldering might seem like a very athletic activity. The truth is, however, that everyone can do it. Regardless of age and fitness, bouldering is an activity suiting everyone. Almost all facilities offer tailored classes for every skill level. Also, the variety in difficulty of bouldering problems assures that everyone finds an adequate challenge, and you will find that the learning curve for beginners is great. The greatest thing about bouldering is that you do not need much equipment. Only climbing shoes are highly recommended (can be rented) and some comfortable clothes.
Reach for new heights
Bouldering meets the exercise intensity criteria for for moderate-to-vigorous physical activity. It works nearly all the big muscle groups in your upper body, forearms and fingers, and also strengthens you core. The constant reaching for holds and at times awkward body positions you will find yourself in, foster flexibility and balance. Further, bouldering operates on a cognitive level, too. Precise movements of your feet and hands contribute to challenge you coordinative skills. In more skilled athletes it is common to visualize certain moves before entering the route.
A bit more discomforting might be the height. Even though bouldering usually stops at approx. 4 meters, climbing up only a few meters might be scary for people with a fear of height. However, the goal is not to lose this fear completely, as it is a natural instinct. With growing experience you will learn to manage to (partly) overcome this fear. Another great feeling will fill you, once you see your progress. At the beginning it might be frustrating when you think that you cannot reach the top of a boulder. This feeling will soon turn into pure joy and self-recognition, once you make it. Persistence pays off!
Be active – the fun way
Bouldering is not only a physical experience, but also social. Due to the environments it is a great opportunity to spent time with friends. It is fun to have someone cheering you on and you can learn from each other, too. And if you are a big group, no one needs to spent much time waiting for their turn because there are more routes than people.
Altogether, bouldering is a fun way to spent time. Not only is it a great activity, it also is beneficial for your health. The variety of challenges you experience make it feel different from your regular work-outs, which at times might feel like a chore. Thus, go and check it out! It is definitely a good way to spend some quality time.
Lucas Tauschek, Masters student at CERG and Monica Gundersen, research assistant at CERG