Mountaineering for Physical and Mental Health

Published: Sep 17, 2023 | Revised: Jan 19, 2024
Edited by: Marce Ferreira

Mountaineering for Physical and Mental Health

Mountaineering is also called mountain climbing or alpinism, and involves outdoor activities that aim at ascending mountains. There are several types of mountain climbing, such as sport climbing, ice climbing, rock climbing, and bouldering, with or without pre-drilled bolts and hooks, ropes, or safety equipment, or climbing with an aim of doing something else, like trekking, hiking, or skiing.

Climbing mountains has already been done in ancient times, although it was typically performed out of practical, symbolic, economic, political, spiritual, or religious purposes. Mountaineering as a sport, hobby, pleasure, or health related activity seems to be only a thing of the past two to three centuries.

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The techniques used in mountain climbing depend greatly on the location, season, and the route one plans to take, while covering terrain that consists of forests, rocks, snow, and ice, and so on. Typically, mountaineers need to have proper food and water with them, alongside correct information, skills, and experience, familiarity with the wilderness, appropriate equipment, plenty of energy, and mental and physical fitness to complete their tasks.

It’s of course obvious that mountaineering involves quite a variety of challenges and dangers. These include weather conditions (sudden storms, lightning, heavy rains, winds, etc.), dangerous terrain (falling rocks, ice, snow-avalanches, steepness, crevasses, etc.) environmental conditions (heat, dry, humid, cold, altitude, etc.), poor judgement or planning, lack of skills, or inadequate materials.

Nonetheless, mountaineering is also a very healthy activity. While climbing one uses the hands, feet, and other parts of the body, and it’s generally an intense physical activity that boosts the blood circulation, improves cardiorespiratory fitness and perceptual cognitive ability, practices our balance, and strengthens muscles and joints, not to talk about the benefits for one’s self-esteem, ability to concentrate and focus, and mental endurance.

Moreover, the activity takes place in beautiful scenery, in a natural environment with clean air, which relaxes profoundly, and which can be a welcome time-off from the hustle and bustle of city and urban life.

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