Depression can take a toll on the heart and mind, burying its victims under a weight that is hard to shake. According to a recent study by BioMed Central, there is a new intervention making waves and helping people climb out of the hole the depression creates. Indoor rock climbing or bouldering is a great form of exercise to battle something as big as depression. It gets people up and moving, helps them reach their goals, and it creates a support system between participants.
We already know the benefits of exercise are tremendous. Regarding depression and anxiety, they are limitless. According to the Mayo Clinic, exercise helps to release "feel good" brain chemicals like neurotransmitters and endorphins. By physically challenging ourselves, we strengthen our immune system and raise our body temperature, which produces a calming effect throughout the body. Because climbing presents a physical challenges along with mental challenges in the form of problem solving, it is the perfect activity to strengthen the mind and body.
Indoor rock climbing is a unique exercise where people can physically and mentally reach the goals they set for themselves. The feeling of accomplishment when one reaches new heights is an authentically fulfilling experience, and has proven to be incredibly beneficial to those that suffer from depression because of the mental stimulation it creates by setting goals and achieving them.
In a study done by BioMed Central, researchers found that bouldering intervention was an effective treatment for depression. In this study, participants took part in an intervention involving an eight-week program of psychotherapy and bouldering therapy. Researchers worked with a controlled and randomized group of about 47 individuals. After eight weeks of using bouldering and psychotherapy with these adults, they found a significant change in the participants' depression scale. Those that conducted the study believe that there are many reasons for this intervention's success.
One of the most significant benefits is breaking through self-created barriers. People that suffer from depression are known to put up roadblocks for themselves, and the feeling of breaking through those barriers is empowering. Indoor rock climbing allows climbers to challenge themselves in a fun environment that is outside the scope of “normal” exercise.
Depression hurts those that suffer from it, but it also has adverse effects on personal relationships. Bouldering forces climbers to trust the group members in the therapy session. They have to work together to reach their goals, forcing climbers to trust other individuals in the group. In this environment, interpersonal relationships grow, helping to heal this weakness common in depression sufferers.
Indoor rock climbing is ideal for many reasons, but studies are emerging that prove its effectiveness as an intervention for depression and anxiety. Climbers are physically active, they are busting through barriers, and they are learning to trust other people. The benefits of climbing are endless, and research proves the perks of this fun and unique exercise.
Looking for a group to help you on your exersise journey? Try out one of our Group Fitness classes to help you get focused.
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