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Building strength through rock climbing

Indoor rock climbing is booming. Once regarded as an extreme sport, it is now considered a mainstream recreational activity. So what’s the appeal? And is it a realistic activity for someone with osteoarthritis?

Indoor rock climbing is certainly more daring than many activities and that’s part of the appeal. Overcoming challenges can be invigorating. At the same time, people of all ages and levels of ability can enjoy it and, thanks to the growth in indoor rock climbing walls in climbing gyms around Australia and New Zealand, it’s accessible.

As a physical activity indoor rock climbing involves the use of many muscle groups as well as reaching and stretching. Pre-climb warm up exercises, followed by stretching, are important in helping performance and ensuring safety.

Indoor rock climbing exercises the mind almost as much as the body. Each wall is to be viewed as a problem that needs to be solved, helping climbers develop patience, determination, concentration, problem-solving skills and self-confidence.

So, from a combined physical and mental perspective, indoor rock climbing can help build muscular strength, flexibility and self-confidence – all of which are important for people with osteoarthritis.

How do you get started? Find out where there’s a climbing gym near you. You will be able to hire the necessary equipment from the gym. The gym can give you instructions on safety issues and how to select a suitable starting climb.

Share the experience. Indoor rock climbing can be an enjoyable social activity with challenges overcome, and victories celebrated, among friends and family.

It’s an activity that, sensibly, starts with a few small steps and, as confidence grows, the steps become larger.