Studies show some surprising benefits of rock climbing. Below are just a few highlights and the supporting studies.

1 Indoor climbing is one of the safest forms of exercise around and that statement is supported by data. In a study conducted over a 5-year period, the overall injury rate was only 0.02 injuries per 1000 hours of climbing activities.1 By comparison, injuries sustained while running range from 2.5 to 12.1 injuries per 1000 hours of running, depending on the nature of the study. 2

1 (Volker R. Schöffl, MD, PhD, MHBA, Georg Hoffmann, Thomas Küpper, MD, PhD, “Acute Injury Risk and Severity in Indoor Climbing—A Prospective Analysis of 515,337 Indoor Climbing Wall Visits in 5 Years,”  Wilderness and Environmental Medicine, Sept 2013); 2 (W. van Mechelen, “Running Injuries: A review of the epidemiological literature,” Sports Med. 1992)

2 Highly involved activities like rock climbing lower stress levels.  (Ruth C. Engs, Alcohol and Other Drugs: Self Responsibility . Bloomington, IN: Tichenor Publishing Co. 1987)

3 Rock climbing meets the American College of Sports Medicine’s guidelines for heart rate and energy expenditure. Climbing and bouldering are great cardio workouts and burn 500-900 calories per hour depending on the number and difficulty of routes climbed. (A. Nicholson; S. Lopez; J. Burke; K. Emerson; R. Mueggenborg; and J. Dunbar, “Differences Physiological Responses and Health Benefits of Indoor Rock Climbing in College–aged Individuals,” Journal of Undergraduate Kinesiology 2:2, 2007)

4 Students participating in campus recreation activities like climbing report increases in fitness level, physical strength, stress management, athletic ability, self-confidence, balance/coordination, and concentration(Forrester, S. (2014). The Benefits of Campus Recreation. Corvallis, OR: NIRSA.)

5 Activities like climbing, done over a short period of time have dramatic working memory benefits. (Ross G. Alloway, Tracy Packiam Alloway. “The Working Memory BENEFITS OF PROPRIOCEPTIVELY DEMANDING TRAINING: A PILOT STUDY 1.2,” Perceptual and Motor Skills, 2015)

6 Climbers learn soft skills that are prized by employers such as ability to work in a team, make decisions and solve problems, verbally communicate, and obtain and process information. (Adam Peck, PhD, Editor (2015) Considering the Impact of Participation and Employment of Students in Campus Activities and Collegiate Recreation on the Development of the Skills Employers Desire Most, Corvalis, OR: NACA and NIRSA)

7 Designing, constructing and maintaining a rock climbing wall costs a fraction of most other recreational options.

  • The average 8 lane rock climbing wall costs between $100,000-$120,000 with virtually no maintenance costs.
  • The average 8 lane swimming pool starts around $1,000,000 for initial construction and annual operations.
    (usaswimming.org (2010) “25 YARD COMPARED TO 50 METER – “TO BUILD OR NOT TO BUILD”” )
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