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Sweatworking: The rise of rock climbing

Rock climbing is predicted to be the hot, new "sweatworking" sport of 2016. As avid rock climbers, we can see why this would be a popular choice, especially here in Minnesota.

Everyone seems to be hyper mindful about optimizing their time, and "sweatworking" (connecting with clients and coworkers over a workout) helps professionals advance their careers and keep fit all at the same time. What's really great is that "sweatworking" offers participants the opportunity to create meaningful connections.

You might not think that rock climbing is a sport well suited for Minnesota, but on the contrary this recreational sport has been growing quickly here and it's well suited for "sweatworking." 

  1. It's affordable to get started. All you need to climb is a pair of climbing shoes and a harness—both of which can be rented at a gym.
  2. It's an adventure. Whether your bouldering five feet off the ground or top rope climbing 60 feet off the ground, this sport will give you a rush of endorphins. Plus it doesn't feel like exercise.
  3. You don't need to be super-fit. In fact, good technique is more important than physical strength, which makes this a great sport for all ability levels—including people with mental and physical impairments. Although, the more you climb, the stronger and fitter you will become.
  4. It pairs people of different abilities. Unlike many sports where you look for a partner with similar abilities (think running, tennis or basketball) this is not the case with rock climbing. A seasoned climber could partner with someone new to the sport and still be safe and challenged.
  5. It's a full body workout. Rock climbing strengthens all 11 major muscles groups, even including the muscles in your fingers. It also combines strength, endurance and flexibility into one workout.
  6. Your body and mind must work together. Each climb represents a puzzle that you must solve mentally and physically. You need concentration, patience and analysis to plan your way to the top, while using your body strength and technique to complete your climbing route.
  7. It builds trust. Strong friendships tend to develop between climbing partners because of the level of trust needed to ensure each other's safety during a climb. As with many adrenaline-inducing experiences, you also create bonds simply by sharing and accomplishing challenges together.
  8. It's a lifetime sport. The climbing community is made up of kids as young as five learning to climb for the first time and adults into their 80s. You climb at your own pace and at the level of difficulty that is right for you physically.
  9. It's a personal challenge. With climbing, you are your own competition. The goals you set for yourself are limitless—as you master techniques you can increase the difficulty of your climbing route. Mastering techniques and achieving your personal goals is very rewarding.
  10. It's a social activity. While on one level rock climbing is an individual sport, it is also a social activity as it is often done in pairs or small groups. In between climbs there is often down time and lots of opportunity to network with others.
  11. It's a year-round sport. There are many great places to climb indoors and outdoors here in Minnesota. There are indoor climbing gyms; a free bouldering cave a Midwest Mountaineering; a wall at REI in Bloomington, Midwest Climbing Co-Op, Vertical Endeavors and the University of Minnesota. When the weather is right there are outdoor climbing opportunities all over the state: Interstate State Parke in Taylors Falls, Barn Bluff in Red Wing, Blue Mounds State Park in Luverne, Banning State Park in Sandstone, Temperance River State Park near Schroeder and Tettegouche State Park near Silver Bay. 

Climbing will give you a new way to see, experience and appreciate connecting with others over a workout—without it feeling like one. You should definitely give it a try.

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