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This Month In Body
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    Nearly every movement you make uses your core muscles, from your on-the-job duties and pick-up basketball games to your ability to maintain balance and good posture. With such an important role in your daily life, you can’t afford to overlook your core when working out. Read >>
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Health and Fitness News
Chandra Young is now a professional Fitness Trainer

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Exercise Spotlight: Rock Climbing

Learn the basics for an adventurous, full-body workout.

Ever visited an indoor climbing gym or attempted to scale a rock wall in the great outdoors? If not, it’s time to give it a try! Rock climbing is gaining popularity as more and more people see it as a way to combine fun, adventure, and exercise. As far as workouts go, rock climbing is always a high-intensity option. In fact, there’s not really a way to lower the intensity.

If you’re new to the world of rock climbing, here are a few things you should know before getting started.

You Need Lessons

It may look easy, but it’s far from it. Climbing to high heights also comes with risk, so be sure to learn the safety measures. Before your first climb at the gym, sign up for a few basic lessons. If you plan to climb actual rocks, go with someone who is experienced and can give you step-by-step instructions on how to climb and stay safe.

It Will Target All the Muscles

How many times have you watched competitive obstacle course shows on television only to find out the winner is a rock climber? It happens a lot. That’s because rock climbing is one of the most effective full-body workouts you can do. No matter how skilled you are, rock climbing works nearly every muscle in your body.

Your core is challenged as you must balance and hold your body next to the wall. As you climb upwards, your forearms, upper arms, and shoulders must pull your body up. Your legs provide power to push your bodyweight to the next level. All the while, climbing works your glutes and your back muscles.

It Combines Exercise Types

You can’t categorize rock climbing into a single type of exercise. It provides a cardio workout, as it increases your heart rate and your body’s demands for oxygen. But it’s also a great strength-training workout. Your muscles are strengthened and challenged to new limits every moment you hang on. As you reach and stretch, you’ll do plenty of movements that increase flexibility. Since there’s no jumping or landing on hard surfaces (at least there shouldn’t be), climbing is a low-impact exercise.

Rock climbing isn’t merely physical exercise, but a mental one as well. Your mind is challenged constantly, as you work to determine what route to take on the face of the rock. Afraid of heights? You’ll get an even more intense mental workout, as you overcome that fear. With the appropriate equipment, you’ll soon learn there is nothing to be afraid of.

The Cost of Climbing

Like all activities, climbing can get expensive. To climb at a gym, you’ll have to pay for a day pass, weekly pass, or yearly membership. Unless you own your own gear, there will be a rental fee for equipment such as a helmet, shoes, rope, harness, and belay device. If you’re climbing outdoors, you’ll need to have your own equipment. You’ll also need time to hike out to your favorite climbing spot. And since you’ll likely be deep in the woods, prepare to be disconnected from the world for a while.

A Few Things to Consider

Since rock climbing is a challenging, intense sport, it’s not for the faint of heart. If it has been months or years since you’ve exercised, it’s a good idea to get in shape before giving climbing a try.

If you have a heart condition, arthritis, diabetes, or other medical condition, check with your doctor before going rock climbing. Avoid climbing if you are pregnant or have a knee, back, or other joint injury.

Rock climbing can be an effective way to burn calories and maintain weight. However, it’s a difficult activity for overweight people.

And remember, climbing is generally safe—when the rules are followed. So before scaling a wall, ensure all equipment is in good repair and fastened correctly and make sure your climbing partner knows how to keep you safe.