I know better than to go a few days without climbing, which is exactly what I had done over the weekend and over the day that the climbing gym was closed for route setting. By the time yesterday rolled around, I was so sore I could hardly move and every joint in my body hurt when I moved. Should’ve gone climbing Saturday and Sunday, and outside on Monday, for that matter, because the weather was nice outside on Monday (although I don’t know how dry the sandstone around here was…). I have osteoarthritis and if I don’t continue to move my body, I lose the ability to do so. Even if my muscles are sore from climbing the day before, my joints are much more punishing in nature if I don’t climb every day. Mondays are a challenge because the climbing gym’s closed, but now that the weather is getting nicer (I think), I’ll be able to go outside on Mondays and climb. It has to do with keeping my body moving and using it. I’m also overweight, which doesn’t help matters, however climbing helps with that, too. The arthritis is an interesting matter. If I don’t climb, I get sore and stiff, and I can hardly make it up and down the steps to my basement apartment! Life is painful if I don’t climb! If I climb, immediately after I climb, I can make it up and down those same steps to my basement apartment 100% better and with hardly any pain whatsoever!!! I wake up after the night’s rest refreshed and my joints don’t hurt if I’ve climbed the day before. Not so if I haven’t – I’m sore and can hardly move to get out of bed if I haven’t climbed the day before! It’s specifically climbing, too, as far as the activity goes. If I ride the stationary bike for 35 minutes, it doesn’t have near the positive effect (and often has the opposite effect, making me sore and stiff) that climbing does! Climbing does something special for my body, something miraculous. Climbing exercises and heals my body in ways that nothing else can, and it heals my mind while it’s at it, too! I just do better when I climb! With everything! It’s a precious gift I’ve been given, and even though I have minor aches and pains from it sometimes, the overall relief it gives both my body and my mind are well worth some small trouble spots, which are strengthened while climbing heals them, too.
Think about what climbing does and is for you, if you climb. Does it burn off the built-up toxins in your body for you? Does it get you pumped and help your body release those endorphins that satisfy the opioid receptors in your body to give you those good feelings? Does it help you move better? Smoother? With less pain? Does it help you to have a better mindset and think of things more positively? Does it help you build a social network and support system that you can rely on 24/7? Does it give you opportunities to find your weaknesses and strengthen them, both in your body and in your mind? Does it help you overcome fear, anxiety, and stress in your life? Is it something you can’t live without? For me, climbing is and does all of these things!!! It’s amazing, and the indoor experience can do it for me as well as the outdoors, but the outdoors really takes the cake as far as having an all-out climbing adventure goes! I have some aches and pains after those, but they’re the good aches and pains that tell me I’ve done something spectacular with my life on those days!!! I’ve experienced life to the fullest on those days, and I have some lactic acid build-up to take care of the next day to show for it. There’s nothing wrong with that! Again, those little aches and pains and those small trouble spots are so incredibly worth the experience of climbing!!!
If you don’t climb, you should try it. If you have a fear of heights, you should try it. I know you think I’m crazy because I just said that, but I’ve met a lot of people who are afraid of heights who climb, and they wouldn’t trade climbing for anything in the world! Climbing helps them with it and they recognize and appreciate that! Even if you never end up climbing outside, I would highly recommend visiting an indoor climbing gym and trying out bouldering or roped climbing or whatever you think you can dare yourself to try. Get out of your comfort zone. It might be the best thing you ever did for yourself and for others, because I guarantee you’ll make new friends! If you think climbing can be stressful, you’re right – it can be. It’s a different kind of stress than your job stress or your family stress or your school stress, though. It’s the kind of stress that you’re going to get addicted to because it feels so good to overcome the stress, to learn to control it, and to move past it. Climbing will help you meet and overcome challenges in your daily life. It will help you with your problem-solving and decision-making skills. Climbing will make you stronger in so many ways, it’s unbelievable!!! Then, if you move to the outdoor climbing scene, it’s mind-blowing!!! You’ll accomplish things you never thought possible for yourself, and that confidence will spread throughout your entire worldview! Go forth and climb!!! I’ll see you out there!!!