8 Reasons All Kids Should Rock Climb
Updated: Jan 20
The world is an exciting and adventurous place, but to the dismay of many adults, kids are often too busy with their electronics to notice the world around them. More than ever before, children and teenagers seem to wander through the world oblivious to the potential adventures that lurk around every corner. Between social media and video games, it doesn’t seem like children or teens have much of a reason to look up from their smartphones anymore.
Recreational sports are a fantastic way to get children to unplug from their electronics and focus on the immediate challenges that surround them. We argue that climbing, in particular, is an essential break from the electronic world, and can be a fun way to get youth involved in physical activity.
Here’s a list of reasons why every child should give rock climbing a try:
1. Build Courage
If they’re climbing on an properly rigged toprope, in the gym or outside, children are never at risk of falling more than a couple of inche during their rock climb. But still, most new climbers (children or adults) feel a surge of adrenaline as they climb 30 – 60 feet off of the ground for the first time.
Overcoming the natural fear all new climbers experience as they ascend to the top of their first route can be a powerful tool for learning to combat the stress and anxiety that many people encounter in their day-to-day lives. It is in this way that climbing can help kids develop the skills necessary to overcome other mental struggles they may come across throughout life.
2. Build Muscles
This one might seem obvious, however, with a growing portion of America’s youth becoming overweight and physically inactive, instilling children with values of physical fitness has never been more critical. Recent studies estimate that 25-27% of teenagers are overweight or obese in the United States. For individuals that don’t enjoy traditional recreational sports, climbing can serve as an excellent workout. Climbers have to engage every muscle group in their entire bodies and can also build up their aerobic endurance. Sometimes without even realizing it, climbers receive a full body workout in just an hour on the wall.
3. Personal Challenge
Climbing is a unique sport in that it demands individual motivation and personal challenge. Climbers often work in teams, but they are often alone and out of sight of their partners on a massive wall. Only individual perseverance can bring a climber to the top of a route. When a child is alone on the wall, they receive an opportunity to engage in a personal challenge, unlike anything they experience in their normal lives.
4. Become Part of a Community
Climbers are the friendliest people in the world (okay, we don’t have concrete data to back up that statement – but we think it’s true). Not all children thrive in typical recreational team sports, and that’s perfectly okay. However, child and adolescent climbing teams are growing all over the country, and it’s the perfect environment for kids and teenagers to make friends without the pressure of perfectly syncing during team events. Climbing can be an individual sport, but it can also be an opportunity to join a community that loves physical fitness, teamwork, and the outdoors.
5. Learn New Skills
Climbing is the combination of several essential mountaineering skills, and while many recreational climbers go to the gym without ever learning technical skills (such as belaying, lead climbing, gear placement, etc.), many people use climbing as an opportunity to develop a skill set to which they wouldn’t have otherwise been exposed. While these new skills are for mountain travel, they are also surprisingly useful in many professional settings. High-angle rope skills are highly valued in careers such as construction work, stage set-up, and first responders.
6. Be Cool
Let’s be real, kids like to be cool, and nothing is cooler than rock climbing.
7. Unplug from Electronics
The average American child receives hours of “screen-time” every day. That’s hours of staring at either computer screens, televisions, smartphones, or tablets. Throughout the average American lifetime, today’s generation will spend 10+ years of their life staring at electronic devices. Climbing, in the gym or outside, can offer a reprieve from those electronic devices that seem to dominate the lifestyle of kids today.
8. Real Adventure
Ultimately, climbing is fun. Through climbing, children are offered an opportunity to experience the excitement and adventure that the world has to offer. For many children and teenagers, climbing is an exciting way to learn new skills, get in a workout, and meet friends to which they wouldn’t have otherwise been exposed. Video games may be the trend for the future, but at the end of the day video games are only attempting to replicate what real adventures have to offer.