Not only is rock climbing healthy exercise for the body, but it keeps the mind in shape too. A recent study from the University of Arizona, in conjunction with the University of Erlangen-Nurmeburg, found that patients who bouldered along with taking traditional therapy were less depressed than those who only took therapy.
The study separated the patients into two groups, one group who bouldered three hours per week for eight weeks and attended therapy sessions, and another group that only attended therapy sessions. Throughout the treatment researchers intermittently scaled the patients’ reports of depression.
The rock climbing group improved their overall mental health at a greater rate than the control group, according to the Beck’s Depression Inventory, which is the standard test to measure severity of depression.
Eva-Marie Stelzer and Katharina Luremberger, the study’s head researchers, were excited by the potential of the study. “Patients enjoyed the bouldering sessions and told us that they benefited greatly,” Luremberger said.
Stelzer believes the effects can be far reaching. “I hope this study and future studies are able to impact a life. Depression is a severe illness …Even though a variety of treatment options exist, less than one-third of people receive treatment for their symptoms,” she said.
Exercise is part of many regiments for combating depression, because it releases endorphins, which creates sensations of reward within the brain. These rewards are reflected through positive emotions, and longer term exercise can create longer term happiness.
Photo by Unsplash
Savannah McCoy is a freelance journalist based in Athens, Georgia. She is an avid sports fan and Game of Thrones junkie. Valar Morghulis.