For many, the sheer enjoyment of climbing is enough to get them back on the wall day after day. But besides being endlessly fun, climbing brings with it a whole host of other benefits – many of which are especially important for the growth and development of school children.

Social benefits

While climbing can be a competitive sport, it is first and foremost a recreational activity done amongst friends. Climbing in a group brings a level of co-operation and mutual achievement not found in many other sports. Participants work together to overcome particularly tricky climbs, and motivate one another to keep pushing themselves to achieve more difficult challenges.

This kind of co-operative activity has been found to improve and develop children’s communication, empathy, trust, and conflict resolution.[1]

Physiological benefits

Few can doubt the importance of physical activity for children, both for the health benefits it provides and for the development of motor skills (or physical literacy). Between cardiovascular fitness, flexibility, dexterity, muscle strength, and endurance, it’s difficult to encourage children to participate in a wide enough array of activities to ensure they’re becoming proficient in all aspects of physical literacy. The beauty of climbing is that it’s one of the few activities that can be considered a true full-body workout.[2]

Climbing improves a child’s upper and lower body strength, cardiovascular fitness and endurance, muscle endurance, and balance, making it the ideal sport for physical development during crucial periods of growth.

Cognitive benefits

A full-body workout should never exclude the most vital body part we have: the brain. Climbing is a physical sport, but it isn’t the strongest climbers who are necessarily the best; it’s those most capable of thinking their way through unique challenges posed by the rock wall. At its core, rock-climbing is an exercise in problem solving.[3] Problem-solving skills help to improve a child’s confidence, creativity, independence, and critical thinking.[4]

Beyond that, climbing has been found to bring a whole host of other cognitive benefits. These include improved brain function and memory, a reduction in stress, and even decreased symptoms of ADHD.[5]

While these many physical, emotional and psychological benefits for school children make climbing one of the best hobbies they could pick up, they aren’t the reason children will want to get involved. Parents and guardians can be satisfied knowing their children are developing such vital skills, but for the children themselves it’s the sheer enjoyment of climbing the wall and overcoming challenges that will always have them coming back for more.

[1] What Is Cooperative Play? Definition, Examples, and Benefits (healthline.com)
[2] Why Rock Climbing and Bouldering May Be the Best Full-Body Workouts | Time
[3] Solving problems. Every rock climber is un-knowingly an… | by Marc Rollin | Medium
[4] Importance of Problem Solving Skills in your Child | (theearlychildhooduniversity.com)
[5] How Rock Climbing Does Your Mind — And Body — Good | HuffPost Australia Wellness (huffingtonpost.com.au)