Energy For Life

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Microadventures in London

Rock climbing, 25 February 2014 (for blog)

With a work-life balance which can sometimes feel more skewed towards work, I spend a lot of time trying to build in microadventures to break up my week, escape from my routine and get a little perspective on life.  In the cold harsh light of day, I’m not getting any younger and life is short – therefore, I want to make the most of every moment!  With 24 hours in my day, a good 9-10 of those hours are allocated to work and a further 6-7 hours for sleep, I’m left with a window of 7-9 hours for fun, reduced to 5-7 hours once I’ve factored in eating, pampering and commuting.  My latest microadventure took me to the Ethos Climbing Wall at Imperial College London in South Kensington.

The 9-metre high climbing wall provides the very best in indoor climbing with overhangs and a small chimney section, it provides a range of climbing challenges for both the experienced climber and beginner alike. Under the expert instruction of Michal Kuziorowicz, I spent a couple of hours climbing different routes up the wall and felt a world away from the distractions of work, stress and routine.  Afterwards, I felt fantastic, it was like pressing a ‘reset’ button on my body and mind.  To quote inspirational adventurer, Alastair Humphreys: “Adventure is only a state of mind. Adventure is stretching yourself; mentally, physically or culturally. It is about doing what you do not normally do, pushing yourself hard and doing it to the best of your ability. And if that is true then adventure is all around us, at all times.”

Here are just a few reasons why rock climbing makes a great microadventure…

– Fun. Rock climbing pushes you out of your comfort zone with new challenges whichever way you turn.

– Helps to relax.  Rock climbing requires a great deal of concentration and for your mind to stay in the present moment.  Your mind is only able to centre in on one thing; therefore climbing can be very meditative as you focus on each move.

– Sharpens your focus.  Your critical thinking skills are put to test as you decide the best way to scale the wall.  These skills are also transferable to other areas of your life.

– Increases flexibility.  Rock climbing encourages your body to increase its range of motion. Standard rock climbing movements such as long reaches, high steps and stemming require active flexibility. This is not only great for yoga lovers such as myself where greater flexibility enhances various yoga poses, but for everyone who wants to have a healthy body.

– Improves coordination.  Rock climbing requires you to coordinate your mind with your muscles. Every rock climbing move offers a novel problem-solving challenge, presenting you with a different set of potential handholds and footholds to use. Long term, this will help to improve balance, coordination and agility.

– Builds strength.  Rock climbing is a great strength builder for your muscles. You have to use your entire body to pull yourself to the next hold. Your legs help to propel you forward vertically, while your arms pull you up.  Climbing requires you to use your muscles in unconventional ways, providing new challenges for your body.

– Rock climbing is low impact. Many sports with the fitness benefits of climbing tend to be high impact.

– The view from the top is always satisfying!

So are you ready for your next microadventure?  Check out this excellent website for inspiration: http://www.microadventures.org/

Rock climbing, 25 February 2014 (3)

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