LPM Staff

Release your inner Spiderman

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By now, los chavalos are predictably so bored with long summer days, they’re ready to go back to school. But summer drones on and school doesn’t start for a few more weeks. What to do? How can you get them to say something other than “I’m bored” por enésima vez?

Take them indoor rock climbing. Really. As a matter of fact, children as young as 18 months can climb at most facilities in the Valley; it comes naturally after all. The truth is, indoor rock climbing is achievable for all ages and physiques – you just have to want to do it – or at least be open to it. En serio.

The benefits of climbing

What better way to kill tres pájaros? 1) Get some exercise; 2) get those bored juveniles motivated and away from the Wii, and 3), have fun. And no, Wii doesn’t count as exercise. Once you figure out it’s a matter of flicking your wrist instead of a full backhand swing, the calorie burning goes out the window.

But not with rock climbing. Because the whole body is engaged, aerobics kick in, calories are burned and muscles are strengthened. Flexibility and balance also improve. Finger, arm and core strength increases fairly quickly, and as climbers progress and challenge themselves to more difficult climbs, shoulders, calves, hips and hamstrings get in on the act. And not only does rock climbing improve overall physical strength, balance, coordination and flexibility, it also hones mental acuity.

Rock climbing can give your self-confidence a foot up and it also builds trust, in yourself and your “belayer,” the person in charge of securing your rope as you move on the wall. Many rock-climbing facilities offer team-building programs, and teach coworkers to climb and safely support their fellow climbers.

It’s understandable to have fears around climbing several dozen feet up a wall with no net below. Owners of rock-climbing gyms know this, too. That’s why they take every possible precaution to make sure their customers are safe, secure and know exactly what they’re doing before they even strap on a harness. Many gyms require you to watch an instructional video and/or get hands-on orientation from a staff climber, and all facilities require you to sign a waiver, as any fitness gym would do.

Kids love it – you will, too

You’ve probably seen those portable rock-climbing walls at a school carnivals or fancy birthday parties, with kids of all ages – parents, too – in line to take a thrilling turn. OK, so ascending a fabricated wall may not be the same thrill as scaling rock walls in Yosemite, but going to a climbing gym is a great start. You don’t even need Spiderman abilities – just show up and climb. You’ll find that staffers at just about any indoor climbing gym are climbing enthusiasts and happy to share their expertise. Classes, memberships and summer camps are also available at most locations.

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