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. Seven years have passed (I'm now 70), 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 take a close look at indoor rock climbing - an inherently dangerous activity that has an unusually low injury rate less than one percent of other activities like tennis, bicycling or even treadmill exercise. 

Indoor climbing is mentally challenging, exciting and adventurous. Most of us haven't had an exciting adventure in quite a while - trust me, that adds a significant fun factor. If you lack exhilaration in your life, take an indoor climbing class!

Climbing exercises the entire body and encompass all the fitness recommendations set forth by the National Institutes of Health and the Mayo Clinic staff: flexibility, stretching, core exercise, strength building and aerobic fitness. An "ideal" exercise for older adults should also have a big emphasis on balance - that would be particularly effective at preventing falls later in life.

Losing your balance while exercising often means a fall and potential injury. Climbers roped & tied into a harness during all top-rope climbs are well-protected from falling. This allows lots of balancing practice and improvement. A great exercise for older adults should always include a robust fall prevention system!

Climbing is a low impact activity that doesn't require any 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 great blend of mental and physical exercise.

Having fun and helping yourself to maintain and extend independent living at the same time makes all kinds of sense. Significant increases in agility and strength makes climbing a highly effective fall prevention activity. Most importantly, it's 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. Simply put, 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 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 certainly 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.