Looking for a Way to Get Fit Together?
For families looking to get and stay fit together, it can be difficult to find a sport that everyone likes and even harder to find one the whole family can do together.
While there’s nothing wrong with friendly, low-pressure competition, team sports like basketball can pit family members against each other. Many team sports also require all players have similar skill levels so that games are evenly-matched. Even sports like skiing require beginners to remain on easier slopes. This can slow down more experienced skiers in the family and potentially forces families to split up once arriving at the mountain.
Wouldn’t it be great if there were a sport that anyone could do... that families and friends could do together as a group... that fosters cooperation and teamwork... and doesn't require family members’ skill levels to be matched for everyone to have fun?
Enter Indoor Rock Climbing
While climbing is a sport that looks inaccessible to newcomers, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Rock climbing gyms are springing up around the country, and these climbing-dedicated facilities offer programs for newcomers as well as expert-level climbing for experienced athletes. So what makes climbing such a great family activity?
Why is Rock Climbing a Great Family Activity?
There are so many reasons! First, you can climb with a partner of any skill level. An advanced climber can have just as much fun with a beginning climber as with someone at their own skill level. Climbing is also naturally a partner and group-oriented activity because the climber needs a belayer. The belayer manages the rope that secures the climber.
Families just starting out can usually reserve staff belayers at climbing gyms for their first time and, once they know they like it, parents can learn the skill to take kids climbing on their own. The climber/belayer relationship builds trust and fosters cooperation between family members and friends.
In many sports, rivalries are also stoked by the inevitable winner/loser dynamic. But in climbing there are no winners or losers. Even falling on a climbing route isn’t “losing” - falling is a crucial part of the sport, and a huge part of building both trust in your belayer and confidence in yourself. Even better, climbing has no gender bias so boys, girls, men, and women all start on the same plane. Another obvious perk for friends and families is the shared excitement of a unique and thrilling activity, giving you incredible family memories that can fill photo albums for a lifetime.
Sounds Great ....But What About Safety?
Climbing is a sport that carries a lot of mystery among people with no exposure to it, and to many it seems like an “extreme sport” that is assumed to be very dangerous. As with any sport, climbing can carry some risk. But the most common injuries are minor scrapes. Statistics, in fact, show a lower rate of injuries with indoor climbing than in soccer—a sport offered by most public American high schools. Your local gym can show you all of the safety features that are built in to the sport.
Climbing Builds Confidence and Problem Solving Skills
Climbing may look intimidating to newcomers, especially families with children. Climbs range from extremely easy to extremely difficult. But if you can climb a ladder, you can rock climb! A typical impression is that you need a very strong upper body to become a climber. Climbing routes are set up like physical puzzles; finishing a route is as much about mental problem solving as physical prowess. That means that balance, flexibility, and finesse go much farther than strength. Climbing is accomplished by finding good footholds and finding ways to push with the lower body as opposed to pulling up with the arms. The mental element of climbing often leads to kids who grow in mental skills like focus, self-confidence, and problem solving even off the wall.
Give it a Try!
So if you’ve never thought about taking your family rock climbing, call a local gym and see what they offer for newcomers. If your family enjoys it, you may have just discovered a thrilling lifetime sport that has the potential to bring you closer together than ever!