Your brain is one of the most important parts of your body, and one of the most complex. Vital for everything from managing your emotions to making decisions to lifting a finger, you need your brain to be healthy. Unfortunately, too much screen time may be damaging your brain.
Improving your focus through non-digital activities is essential for maintaining a healthy headspace. Anything that makes your brain work with your body and helps your brain practice functions like problem-solving is great for you. That’s why indoor rock climbing is a smart way to take care of brain health.
Screen Time Versus Focusing
While research on the effects of screens on the brain is still new, some studies already linked lots of screen time to your brain getting less stuff done, which is a problem called gray matter atrophy. This isn’t surprising if you think about it. Many people turn to screens at times to “zone out” or “turn their brains off.” Devices like phones have to walk users through repetitive processes for ease of use, requiring little brain activity.
The brain is the sort of organ that needs to be used to stay healthy. One way to compensate for screen time’s lack of brain-benefit is to participate in non-digital activities that require focus. Focus engages your brain by making it work through functions like memory, problem-solving, emotional processing, and concentration. It connects your body to your mind, exercising your brain’s ability to send signals to muscles and process biofeedback (like, “ow! That was sharp!”).
Rock Climbing to Improve Focus
Indoor rock climbing is a smart activity for improving your focus. There’s also no temptation to spend time on a screen while you’re at the wall. Through climbing, your brain engages in processes like:
- Making decisions about routes and strategy
- Managing motions and motor skills like grabbing holds and leaping from one rock to the next
- Concentrating intensely on the activity at hand, helping the brain reach a meditative state
- Problem-solving to adjust your course as challenges arise while climbing
- Exercising memory about hold placement, shape, and experiences on the wall
- Blocking out distractions in the gym to focus on the task at hand
The brainpower climbing requires is so notable that some climbers employ psychological techniques to enhance their climbing skills and sharpen their mental health. For example, some climbers use visualization techniques or concentration training. As a result, their brains maximize the mental benefits of climbing.
Finding Mental Clarity
Since climbing is a fun and addicting form of fitness, people often find it minimizes the desire to “zone out” by giving them something they love that’s both relaxing and exciting. Sometimes referred to as “moving meditation,” rock climbing can bring mental clarity, which reduces stress and is good for the brain and the body. It helps you get “in the zone,” a very real and healthy mental state, by connecting your mind and body with a unified goal and the ability to put everything else aside for a short period of time.
On top of compensating for the unhealthy side effects of excessive screen time, the mental clarity rock climbing offers carries into your everyday life. Whether you are a student climbing to clear your head after a big exam or a professional who needs some headspace between work and home, the improved focus and mental calm you find on the wall will set you up for success off the wall, too.
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