Mountain Climbing: Exploring the Health and Mental Benefits

Robert Buckhannon

April 14, 2023

Mountain Climbing

Mountain climbing is a great way to get into shape, learn more about the outdoors, and improve your mental health. It’s also a great way to connect with others who love to explore the great outdoors.

As a sport, mountain climbing has a long history in the United States. Several developments in mountaineering technology (nylon ropes, crampons, and ice axes) and increased commercialization contributed to its popularity.


Mountain climbing is a full-body exercise that increases your heart rate and tones muscles. It’s also a great way to burn fat, especially belly fat.

If you need help doing mountain climbers correctly, start with a low-impact version of the move and build up your upper body strength as you get more familiar with the movement. Then, work up to high-impact variations, challenging the leg and core muscles even more.

One of the most common mistakes is a poor position, which can prevent your core muscles from activating and make the exercise less effective. Keep your hands straight, shoulders over your wrists, and feet a shoulder-width distance from the floor to keep your form intact.


Flexibility is a vital part of your climbing performance. It helps you move efficiently and safely and is essential for avoiding injuries.

When you climb, you use every muscle in your body – from your arms and shoulders to your core, biceps, hamstrings, hips, and calves. Stretching your muscles can help you stay injury-free, improve your flexibility, and increase your overall strength.

One of the most important ways to improve your flexibility is to stretch before and after climbing. This can include dynamic stretches, which are moves that warm up your joints and muscles, and static stretches, which are poses that hold for 15-30 seconds.

The more flexible you are, the less muscle contraction you need to achieve certain positions. This is especially helpful for strength training, as it allows you to use more muscle mass in specific movements.

Mental Health

When people think of mountain climbing, they consider it a risk-taking sport. They are right, but it also takes a lot of planning and the help of other climbers.

The socialization and communication that many climbers experience are valuable for their mental health. This is because climbing requires close relationships and trust.

Interestingly, a new study suggests that high-altitude psychosis, experienced by mountaineers at extremely high altitudes, isn’t always connected to physical symptoms of altitude sickness or past mental illness.

This is because reduced oxygen levels in the brain and psychological stress can also cause it. Brugger and Hufner hope that more research will help to shed light on the causes of high-altitude psychosis.

Despite the risks, studies have shown that regular outdoor physical activity enhances general mental health and reduces depression and anxiety. In healthy individuals, participation in high-risk sports and mountaineering positively impacts resilience levels, sensation-seeking, emotion regulation, and agency.


The climbing community is a fantastic place to meet new people with similar interests. This can be done by joining a club or group or attending a local event like a happy hour or crag cleanup.

The climber’s relationship to the subculture of the sport or field (and how the values of this subculture are internalized) is critical to how climbers feel and act. Using Bourdieu’s framework, the objective value of a climbing field or subculture becomes part of the climber’s identity and habits; they create a social climbing area with specific rules that govern climbs.

This is a process that can be hard to describe. Still, it’s important to note that climbers are in a position where they feel and act in ways that may seem extreme, but this is all a result of the accumulated years of socialization they have gone through as a part of the climbing culture. Their dreams, goals, and feelings of intrinsic motivation all stem from this relation to the climbing culture.