Article and image credited to Victoire Morier

 

Most associate rock climbing with exercise, physical fitness and strength training. Most also don’t associate rock climbing with mindfulness and even risk assessment and management.

While physical fitness and strength are certainly given – one needs endurance to climb and strength to propel themselves upwards – where does mindfulness come in? And risk assessment and management for that matter?

Climbing tends to demand full attention, whether one is at a wall or natural rock formation. After all, even with safety precautions and specialised equipment, the last thing a climber wants is to fall. Mindfulness forces a climber to stay in the moment and balance themselves mentally and physically before making their next move.

This leads to risk assessment and management. Could a climber make a move to a new hold just beyond their reach? Would that new hold bring them one step closer to their end goal (the top of the wall or summit of a rock formation)? Are they even stable enough mentally and physically to make their move?

No matter what the end decision may be, rock climbing has already touched on, and trained, elements of mindfulness and risk assessment and management in a climber.

The hidden benefit is that these skills are valuable in daily life. With life lived at such a fast pace, driven by automation and mobile phones, it’s easy to lose mindfulness and forget how to live in the moment.

It also teaches how to weigh factors that may contribute to a decision that needs to be made – would this course or school bring you to where you want to be when you grow up? What could this internship or job teach you? How would these decisions impact you?

Are there other hidden benefits? Of course – resourcefulness and resilience are other learnt skills that teach you how to fall, dust yourself off and try climbing again with a different strategy (much like life). But perhaps it would be better for you to get some chalk on your hands and find out what else is hidden.

ENDS