Unless you live under a rock (no pun intended), you are aware that rock climbing is often a solitary activity. Although there may be someone holding a safety line for the climber, it is essentially the climber using their skills alone against the mountain.
For avid climbers, it is a welcome break from our ever connected world in which technology prevents us from being alone with our thoughts. It is crucial for our mental well being to have time to sit with our thoughts and to exercise finite focus on activities. Daniel Siegel of UCLA, the founder of the Mindsight Institute is huge proponent of combining physical activity with mental focus. Often times we fall victim to an overly stimulated mind that is void of rich processing of thought and regular clear focus. Obviously, this is something experienced more intensely by people with ADHD, making activities like rock climbing even more important. We know that exercise boosts focus by raising levels of dopamine and norepinephrine. However, when exercise is complex, like climbing, martial arts, or soccer, it also brings online the Cerebellum, further enhancing the positive effects on focus.
Climbing, much like surfing, becomes an important daily meditation for many people. With the advent of rock climbing gyms, you no longer need to let weather or distance from a rock face hold you back. Most climbers will tell you that being outside with nature is best and provides the most rewarding climbing, but that should not hold you back.
Get out there and find some solitude and focus.
Check out more from Dan Siegel and the Mindsight Institute here.