Bouldering isn’t just a cool workout!
... it’s also a great tool against depression
Posted on 05.06.2017
Bouldering is a great strength and fat-burning workout. Clambering over a rock-climbing wall without a harness is a lot of fun. The brightly coloured bouldering gyms make for a great Instagram photo. And as an added bonus, the sport might also be a great treatment for depression.
Hospitals in Germany are using bouldering as a form of therapy, prompting psychologists to test how effective the hipster hobby is for mental health.
Researchers Eva-Maria Stelzer and Katharina Luttenberger, respectively from the University of Arizona and the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, gathered more than 100 bouldering patients and split them into two groups.
The first group immediately started bouldering for three hours a week for eight weeks, while the second group had to wait to begin the intervention. Over the course of the study (which ran 24 weeks all up), all participants were also taught about positive social interactions, meditation, and mindfulness.
Over the time, both groups’ depression symptoms were scored using a number of standard tests. And while both groups’ average scores improved, the bouldering group improved more than four times more than the non-boulderers — enough for their depression levels to be reclassified from moderate to mild.
According to the researchers, bouldering is uniquely suited to countering rumination — a common part of depression where individuals turn the same thoughts over and over in their heads.
“You have to be mindful and focused on the moment [while bouldering],” said Stelzer, who presented the findings at the Association for Psychological Science Convention last weekend, in a statement.
“It does not leave much room to let your mind wonder on things that may be going on in your life — you have to focus on not falling.”
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