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Reaching the vertical limit
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Reaching the vertical limit
By Sean Maraj
Climbing up to that vertical limit is more than just climbing rock. Rock climbing is a very impressive, all around workout, which brings with it benefits that one could not find in the gym.
In the flat-land that is London, there are not many outdoor avenues for rock climbing adventures. Instead, there are several sites in the city dedicated to indoor rock climbing. People rock-climb for different reasons a big one being physical fitness.
"A lot of members train because it keeps them in shape. It's a full workout," said Shaun Ferneaux, an employee of Spikes Indoor Rock Climbing Gym in London. "Nothing is as good as going outside, but it's a good simulation."
Katherine McCarthy, a member of Western's rowing team, said she recently took up indoor rock climbing. Being a rower requires a high level of fitness and for McCarthy, taking up rock climbing offered a different avenue to help her stay in shape.
"[I do it for] overall body fitness, its a challenge and it's something new to try," she said.
Rock climbing is an overall workout that works both the lower and upper body, while also giving a cardio workout, said Jenn Symmes, a fitness instructor at the central YMCA branch in London.
Symmes said that good rock climbers need to have a high level of fitness and that their training should ensure a focus on such things as finger strength.
Walking into a climbing gym and watching people scale the side of the building can be intimidating. Ferneaux pointed out that it's an open atmosphere with an open door to the those willing to try something new.
"You can come pay for a half hour and get taken out by an instructor. You just come in and climb," he said.
Graphic by Christopher Hodge
This was a sentiment that was also expressed by McCarthy who also pointed out that the safety factor included in the sport is another extra advantage.
"It's really easy to start and makes you get in shape really quick," she said. "The first thing is getting use to the fact that when you fall something will catch you."
McCarthy also noted that even kids enjoy the sport and find success quickly when they get started.
"It's really easy and it's fun. Six-year-olds can get up the walls," she said.
There is also a social aspect to rock climbing. Ferneaux noted that while their are benefits that one does not find in a gym, there is also a level of socializing in the rock climbing community that one doesn't find anywhere else.
"A lot of people come for the social interaction. They have their own network. It's a great work out, better than going to the gym," Ferneaux said.
With all the advantages that come from climbing, Symmes had a few words of advice for new, as well as experienced climbers: "Train don't strain."
Graphic by Chris Hodge