Indoor Climbing Walls are a great alternative to the regular Gym.
I got into climbing when I came across the Mile End Climbing Wall way back in 2005.
I attended a beginners 2day climbing course over a weekend and loved it! Even though after the second lesson I couldn’t release the hand break on my car single handed as my arms where so pumped and tired.
Mile End is a very laid back social centre with the opportunity to sit back and chat over a cuppa into between climbs.
People are friendly and often offer a helping hand to ensure you can complete your problem. Climbing is a mental puzzle alongside being a physically active sport you have to engage your brain. Often it will be the way you look at a route/problem that will help you get to the top.
Watching someone else climb the route first will give you an idea of the best way to complete it andyou will learn from their mistakes too.
So what are the workout benefits of climbing apart from the social & mental aspect?
Climbing is great for-
- Building aerobic and anaerobic stamina
- Increasing muscle tone
- Increasing balance and core stability
- Weight loss- element of fight or flight,as you burn calories off whilst climbing but also the fear factor, you burn calories when you are frightened and sometimes when you get to the top you really wish you hadn’t as disco leg kicks in!
Due to a growth in the sport over the last few years more and more walls have popped up across London. Here is a list of the ones I have attended and enjoyed.
- Mile End Mile End- a real social relaxed atmosphere.
- The Arch London Bridge – bouldering only at this wall, no ropes so no need to have a partner, just rock up on your own.
- The Reach Woolwich – Was fairly new when I visited so quite and not much atmosphere.
- The Castle Stoke Newington- Good for rope work due to having a large tower
- The Westway Ladbroke Grove – Not as cosy as the other centre as its set within a leisure centre so you don’t get the bohemian feel of the other centres.
The British Mountaineering Council has just published a guide to indoor Climbing walls so why not have a look to find your closest one http://www.thebmc.co.uk/Download.aspx?id=159
Another advantage of climbing is once you have mastered the art indoors you can take it to the great outdoors and really start to enjoy some of the beauty England has to offer, places like the Peak and Lake District offer amazing climbs.
If you really get into it becomes a whole holiday social activity with climbs all around the Europe & the World throughout the seasons if you want ice climbing as an option.
Its easy to make make climbing buddies and tag along on a self organised holiday’s or to sign up with a official tour company. Some of the many places I have gone Climbing are, Australia, New Zealand, France, America, Spain and across England. One of the quirkier climbing holiday companies offering tours being the BoudlerBus
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