Boomers Can (and do) Rock Climb!

Boomers ages 70+ to 50+

If you're over 50, nearing retirement or already there, your focus on health and quality of life will probably intensify. Indoor sport climbing is a great way to get fit and it's an ideal exercise for Boomers. 


This website provides clear information regarding the value of indoor climbing for the over-50 crowd, plus injury rate stats to understand its risks as well as its benefits


I know - you're probably not fond of heights. Me too! Indoor climbing was the last activity I ever imagined that I would try. However, after a dare with my granddaughters I had my first experience. 


Later, I overcame my fear with actual injury rate facts (see the Fear vs. Reality page) and decided to take a class. Eight years have passed (I'm now 71), and my quality of life, functional strength and health continue to reap enormous benefits from this remarkable activity. 


We know the greatest risk to human health is human behavior. Regular exercise is proven to improve health and quality of life, so let's examine indoor rock climbing. Climbing is an inherently dangerous activity, but indoor rock climbing has a remarkably low injury rate. It’s less than one percent of other activities like tennis, basketball, bicycling or even treadmill exercising. 


Indoor climbing has huge advantages over other exercises. It’s mentally challenging, exciting and exhilarating. Many older adults haven't had an exciting adventure in quite a while so that adds a significant fun factor. If you’d like to try something new and exhilarating, take an indoor climbing class!


Climbing exercises the entire body and hits all the fitness recommendations set forth by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Mayo Clinic staff: flexibility, stretching, core exercise, strength building and aerobic fitness. An "ideal" exercise for older adults must include a big emphasis on balance - fall prevention is important.


Losing your balance while exercising often means a fall and potential injury. Indoor rock climbers are harnessed and tied into a high-tech 3500 pound-test rope. This allows for lots of balancing practice and improvement. A great exercise for older adults should include a robust fall prevention system, and indoor rock climbing has that covered.


Climbing is a low impact activity that doesn't require quick, jerky movements so it's easier on the joints. At the same time, cognitive function is improved because climbing routes are changed at regular intervals, making indoor climbing a non-repetitive and interesting problem-solving type of activity. Contrary to many repetitive exercise programs, climbing doesn't get boring - it's a puzzle-solving blend of mental and physical exercise.


Having fun and helping yourself maintain and extend your independent living makes all kinds of sense. Significant increases in agility and strength makes climbing a highly effective fall prevention activity. Indoor rock climbing is a very social activity and promotes happy, active and successful aging.


In short, climbing is a wonderful blend of problem-solving, socializing, strength-building, gadgets, exercise and exhilaration. It's a great path to lifetime fitness and health for older adults.


Workouts can be repetitive and boring - climbing isn't. Climbing takes the repetitive work out of workouts and replaces it with fun. Climbing makes wellness cool; there's a reason inspirational posters so often feature rock climbers.


As a starting point for your journey to better health and quality of life, you might enjoy this music video. The questions asked in this video resonated with me as I approached retirement. In spite of the inspirational pictures, I recommend the security of indoor rock climbing's controlled environment for Boomers/Seniors.


How this site is organized: 

  • The 'Gadgets and Classes' page describes some of the knots and climbing gear you'll use on your first climb and links to video demonstrations and to a sign-up page for the Boomer Climbers' Movement Class at Climb Iowa.
  • The last section has links to more information about rock climbing and a 'Contact Us' page where you can ask questions or let us know how climbing has improved your life and health.