Looking up at a large indoor climbing gym wall.

5 Good Reasons You Should Check Out Your Local Climbing Gym

No matter how much you love the outdoors, there are always those days — they’re usually wet, cold, snowy, windy, or all of the above — that make you want to stay inside. 

Contrary to what you may think, staying inside doesn’t mean you can’t have fun and stay active at the same time. Sure, we prefer getting outside when we can. But spending the day at an indoor climbing gym is no consolation prize. If you’ve never climbed indoors, we’re here to convince you to give it a try. 

If you have hesitations, listen up: A climbing gym is nothing like a traditional gym. Climbing gyms are social, supportive, and just plain fun — no matter your climbing experience. 

Joining an indoor climbing gym has tons of benefits — and giving you something to do on a snowy or rainy day is just one. If you aren't yet a climber but love the outdoors, you might have a new hobby on your hands. Keep reading for five reasons you should check out your local climbing gym.

1. Climbing is a full-body (and mind) workout.

Top down view of a women climbing up an indoor climbing wall.

If you’ve never been climbing before, you’re in for a very thorough workout — in the best way.

Activities like running, hiking, biking, and weight lifting all require repetitive motions that work your muscles unevenly. Climbing, on the other hand, is dynamic. 

Each route you climb is different and engages your muscles in new ways. For this reason, you get a full-body workout without a repetitive impact on certain muscles or joints. The best part is, you’ll be so focused on your routes that you won’t even notice how hard your muscles are working. 

The physical, mental, and social benefits of climbing are too many to count, but here are some highlights: 

  • Improved strength, flexibility, cardiorespiratory health, and balance
  • Increased problem-solving and communication skills
  • Improved mental health

If you want to get stronger — both physically and mentally — we encourage you to give indoor climbing a try.

2. But it doesn’t feel like a workout.

Woman and child climbing up an indoor climbing wall together.

Climbing is just plain fun — if you’re unconvinced, just think back to your playground days. Remember that instinct you had to climb everything?

Sure, climbing can be difficult and — if you’re uncomfortable with heights — even a little scary at first. But you’ll quickly gain confidence (another benefit of climbing!). The social nature of climbing gyms, the mental and physical benefits you’ll feel from working your body, and the satisfaction of improving your performance make you forget you’re working out at all.

As with lots of other sports, climbing can be competitive, but it doesn’t have to be. Many people find the excitement of scaling an indoor wall, the feeling of moving their body, and the community aspect of the sport enough to keep them fully engaged.

3. The gym has everything you need.

Close up of climber holding climbing shoes at an indoor climbing gym.

Trying a new sport or outdoor activity often has a sizable start-up cost — whether you’re investing time, money, or energy. Buying new equipment, traveling to a specific location, finding partners to join you, or even hiring a coach or instructor can all add up fast.

The great thing about joining a climbing gym is this: Everything you need is right there.

If you’re new to climbing, you probably don’t have the gear. Instead of buying or borrowing shoes, harness, and ropes, you can rent everything at the gym.

You don’t even need a climbing partner when you climb at a gym. If you show up alone, there are plenty of climbing gym staff members and other solo climbers who can give you pointers and make you feel welcome. (Plus, many gyms have auto-belay devices that make it possible to climb on your own without another person belaying you).

Not to mention, many climbing gyms offer more than just climbing. Some have yoga or other workout classes, events, and more. Climbing gyms offer so much — and truly everything you need to get started.

Pro tip: Ask about community and local events at your gym. Many gyms host events like film screenings, holiday parties, fundraisers, and more — which can be a great way to get more involved with your community.

4. You don’t need to learn much before getting started.

Woman climbing at an indoor climbing gym.

Don’t be fooled — safety in climbing is critical. It’s really important to follow your gym’s rules and take precautions at all times. But one great thing about indoor climbing is that there isn’t a ton you have to learn before getting started.

If it’s your first time climbing, you’ll get a full orientation from a climbing gym staff member. They’ll cover everything you need to know about safety right off the bat. Unlike learning more complex skills — like those you may need for outdoor climbing, backcountry skiing, or wilderness medicine — you can learn the basics quickly, then spend the rest of your day on the wall.

Aside from following those basic safety precautions, you can climb a route any way you like. Gyms have beginner-friendly routes that will give you encouragement on your first visit. As your strength and technique improve, you can work your way up to more difficult routes.

While you don’t need to know any special techniques before getting started, climbing can provide endless challenges — making it a perfect activity for any level. It’s another reason indoor gyms are so great. The routes change often, meaning even when you improve, you’ll never get bored.

Pro-Tip: Many gyms also offer classes if you’re eager to improve your climbing technique.

5. The climbing community is welcoming and friendly.

Friendly climber giving tips to new climber in front of indoor climbing wall.

Ask any climber what they love about their indoor climbing gym and we almost guarantee you’ll hear them say, “Community.” 

We’re not really sure why climbers are so friendly. Maybe it’s the social aspect of the sport, maybe it’s the exercise that gets those endorphins pumping, maybe it’s the shared excitement over scaling a difficult route. Or maybe it’s all the chatting that takes place between climbs. Whatever the reason, joining your local climbing gym is a great way to meet new friends.

Hang out at your local gym and you’ll soon be swapping tips, advice, and stories with other climbers. Plus, you’ll likely have mutual outdoor interests in common with other members of the gym. So when you’re planning your next hike, ski, or outdoor adventure, you’ll have a new set of friends to bring along with you.

Whether you’re looking for a new activity, you’re escaping bad weather, or you just want to get involved in a community of fun-loving people, we’re pretty sure you’re going to love visiting your local climbing gym.

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