With recent temperatures reaching 100 degrees and above, getting outside for a little workout time can be less than appealing.
Looking for something to do this weekend? Find what you need in our Weekend Entertainment Guide newsletter.
However, if you're up for a great indoor workout that can simulate a popular outdoor activity, look no further than indoor rock climbing.
Indoor climbing gyms have been popping up all over the country in recent years and gaining popularity as fun and effective year-round fitness activity. Here are just a few reasons why.
True "functional strength": The sport of rock climbing is a real-world application of total physical strength, as it works every major muscle group in the body in a non-linear way. Grip strength is another hallmark of the climber. Often the first muscles to tire during a climb are in the hands and forearms. Most people outside of powerlifters don't train grip strength, so most of us are weak in that area.
Calorie burner: According to Harvard research, rock climbing can burn between 660 and 976 calories per hour, depending on sex and weight. Even more interesting is that rappelling down said rock wall will burn between 480 and 710 calories per hour. It's the ultimate non-workout workout.
Climb for brain power: Rock climbing is like a game of chess, you'll always be plotting your path several moves ahead. As a matter of fact, some studies suggest that rock climbing might actually increase the size of the brain's cerebellum and parietal lobe, increasing hand-eye coordination and problem-solving skills.
Stretch it out: Rock climbing involves a lot of stretching. When you are on that rock, you'll have to stretch to reach out to that next hold to pull yourself up. You'll be amazed how much your mobility increases in only a few sessions on the rock, especially in the shoulders and hips.
Positive addiction: Rock climbing is a physically, and mentally challenging activity that never gets dull. It's a new workout every session. I hear from my climber friends that if you do it once, you're hooked for life. You'll find yourself thinking about your next climb almost as soon as you're done your last one.
Indoor climbing is one of the most fun fitness activities you can do on days that are too hot to exercise outside. Practice enough indoors, and you'll be ready to take it outside on cooler days. You'll be climbing like a spider monkey in no time. Check out this link, www.rock-climbing-for-life com/maryland-climbing-gyms, for a list of indoor climbing gyms in Maryland, and get climbing.
Chad Smith is a Hagerstown personal trainer and co-owner of Home Team Fitness LLC. Go to www.hometeamfitness.net for more information.