Back when I was in my twenties I took up rock climbing. There was no big decision. I just kind of drifted into it. I’d been more into martial arts in my teens, worked my way through the different belts, then a climbing wall was added to a local community sports center.
I was invited to give t a go (they were looking to encourage new membership) and I found that I had either a head for a heights, or a talent for climbing, or both. Discovering that I loved it was the easy part, it was persuading my parents that buying me the climbing gear was an investment was the hard part.
Anyway, between getting them to meet me halfway and me saving the rest, I slowly collected my own gear and started climbing outdoors. I was also lucky in that I lived in California, near enough to Yosemite National Park to call it ‘my backyard’. Yosemite is known for many things, not least the amazing walls and routes that litter the area.
As a beginner I stuck to leaning all the climbing techniques indoors but my first real outdoor climb was simply awesome. Now, twenty years later, I’ve climbed all over the park, as well as ventured further afield. And (the pint of this article), I’m incredibly fit.
After a lifetime of sporting activities I’m glad to say that I can keep up with the best of them. I don’t mean that I can compete with athletes, I can’t. But I’m somewhere towards that level of fitness. Why am I telling you this? As a means of hopefully motivating some of you into taking up sport, or some form of healthy lifestyle that you may not now enjoy.
America is filled with overweight, unfit people. We have one of the highest obesity rates in the world. I’ve been lucky in that I’ve come from a family that were always active and sporty. My dad taught Taekwondo and my mom was a gym teacher in a local school. Me and my brother were both supported/encouraged to take up sports.
That said, you don’t have to have had the same start as me and my brother to become fit and healthy. All you have to do is take one little step. Once you’ve taken the decision to get fit, the rest follows on. Ok, the road to a healthy lifestyle isn’t easy, it involves time, effort and lots of hard work but the rewards are fantastic.
People look at me and think that rock climbing keeps me fit. It doesn’t. It’s because I’m a rock climber that I maintain a level of fitness that’s good enough to keep me climbing. Through the week I run and lift weights. Nothing excessive, just enough to keep my strength and fitness up. My day job, oddly enough, involves the selling of climbing gear.
I think that’s also a motivating factor. I want people to see me looking good. Imagine taking advice from a fat, unhealthy looking guy (or woman) when you go to buy a new harness or ropes? I don’t think anyone would take me seriously., so I stay in shape for that as much as my rock climbing.
Should you take up climbing? That’s down to you. It is a great sport, you will need to be fit, but it does require a certain amount of dedication. If you’re interested is peaked just a little, check out a couple of articles, climbinggearreviews.org has a few. You can also have a look at some of the stuff you can get up to, climbing wise, online.