The Health Benefits of Bouldering: Why It’s Good for You

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Bouldering was originally a way for mountaineers to train for their larger mountain ascents. But when climbing blew up for the first time in the 1980s, it switched climber’s perception of bouldering on its heels. Now, a separate style of climbing, bouldering has infiltrated the world, and climbing gyms can be found in almost any major city.

Why has bouldering become so popular? Besides being a great pastime that allows us to reconnect with our inner child, climbing has tremendous health benefits! Bouldering is a mix of cardiovascular exercise, strength training, and problem-solving.

woman solving a boulder problem
  1. Bouldering is a Full Body Workout

Climbing walls 12 feet high may not look like a workout, but don’t knock it until you try it! When bouldering, you use your entire body, whether pushing, pulling, swinging, or jumping up a wall.

The largest muscle groups influenced by bouldering are the arms, shoulders, back, and core. You also use your legs and glutes when climbing, too!

  1. More Flexibility!

Bouldering isn’t a one-size-fits-all activity. Because some boulders won’t suit your style of climbing, you’ll need to be more flexible to send them! By repeatedly contorting your body into different positions, you improve your flexibility without actively trying to.

  1. Problem-Solving Skills

Rock climbing challenges more than your physical body. It takes excellent problem-solving skills to figure out how to climb a wall suited to your body. How one climbs a boulder isn’t the only way it can be done. If you can’t use their beta, you must find a way that works for you. Climbing is physical, but deciding how to climb a boulder is mental.

  1. Improved Confidence

What’s excellent about bouldering is that you don’t need to be 40 feet in the air to try a specific move. You can practice on a bouldering wall only a few steps off the ground! By practicing climbing moves low on the wall, you build your confidence to do so when you’re higher!

As you practice low to the ground, moving up a few holds each time, you’ll find yourself facing new challenges at different heights. This gradual progression builds a sense of accomplishment, boosting your confidence to ‘go for it’ at the top of the wall! The feeling of conquering a boulder is truly exhilarating.

  1. Improved Cardiovascular Endurance

The health benefits of bouldering also include improving your cardiovascular health! The more you challenge your body on the wall, the higher your heart rate will be. Elite climbers on USA Climbing’s national team measured heart rates as high as 150 beats per minute! That is just another reason to try to push yourself and climb harder!

  1. Bouldering Helps with Depression

This study proves that those who treated their depression with exercise instead of regular at-home remedies found a significant decrease in their diagnosis. If you’re not finding relief, consider trying out bouldering to improve your mental health!

  1. Social Benefits

Bouldering is not just a physical activity, it’s a community. Whether you choose to climb alone, enjoying the solitude and focus, or engage in conversations with fellow climbers, there’s a sense of camaraderie that’s hard to find elsewhere. The downtime between boulders is the perfect opportunity to connect with others who share your passion.

  1. Bouldering Gets You Outside!

However, many Americans, possibly up to 40%, are thought to have a Vitamin D deficiency. While not life-threatening, lacking Vitamin D can have adverse effects such as mood swings, fatigue, hair loss, and joint pain!

If you ever can boulder outdoors and under the sun, try it! Whether surrounded by trees or wide-open spaces, climbing feels more remarkable when you touch natural rocks and explore new places.

  1. No Partner and Minimal Gear are Required!

Bouldering is the only style of rock climbing that requires very little gear. What’s also great about it is that it can be done alone! Since bouldering gyms have large mats covering their facility floor, you don’t typically need a spotter. However, it’s important to remember that bouldering, like any physical activity, carries a risk of injury. It’s recommended to start with easy routes, warm up properly, and always be aware of your surroundings. This allows you to go on your schedule without coordinating with a partner, while ensuring your safety.

  1. You Can Boulder All-Year!

Unlike many other activities that are weather-dependent, bouldering offers the freedom to climb all year round. Whether it’s a scorching summer day or a chilly winter evening, you can always find a bouldering gym to keep your climbing journey going. Some gyms even offer a 24-hour option, giving you the flexibility to boulder whenever your heart desires!