If you’re a fan of exercise but not a fan of the monotonous rut of training machines, you should check out a climbing gym.
Challenging yet fun, rock climbing is a full body exercise that builds strength and challenges your cardiovascular system. A 2017 study by American and German researchers suggests that the health benefits of rock climbing are so great that it could act as an effective treatment for depression.
Sport can also be adapted to match the physical abilities of people with disabilities and, in doing so, provide a variety of social, psychological and physical gains, according to a study by the US Department of Veterans Affairs.
“Everyone should consider rock climbing,” Jake Clark, an employee of local climbing gym Climb Time Indy, told IndyStar.
He said their youngest gym member started at 18 months. Their oldest member is 74 years old.
“We see (people) from all walks of life and all ages in between,” Clark added. “It really is a sport for everyone, which is so cool.”
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Like all sports, rock climbing involves risk. Most gyms will require you to sign a waiver before using their facilities.
But top rope climbing, in which a climber hangs from a rope that rests on an anchor at the top of a climbing route, is “extremely safe”, according to the British Journal of Sports Medicine.
Bouldering is another popular form of rock climbing, in which you scale shorter walls without a rope or harness. Gyms place giant pads under you to cushion your falls.
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The Indianapolis area is home to a handful of climbing gyms where you can try both styles. Each has its own layout and community, although the services they offer are similar. And they carry gym equipment if you want to mix up your exercise.
Here are three such gyms:
Indy Rise Time
8750 Corporation Drive, Indianapolis, IN 46256
Located in the Castleton neighborhood, a short distance north of the 82nd Street exit of I-69. One of the smaller but more economical climbing gym options in Indianapolis. They have over 200 rope routes and bouldering routes, the latter of which are technically known as “problems”.
For beginners : A day pass is $12. If you’re only interested in bouldering, a day pass is $10. Equipment can be rented for an additional fee. Climbers aged nine or younger get free gear rental with a day pass.
Membership: $40 per month. If you are joining the gym alongside someone under 18, the underage membership is $20 per month. They offer family membership rates of $143 per month for two adults and two children, and $120 for two adults and one child. Membership includes access to “kids club” climbing lessons, yoga classes, free equipment rental once a month, discounts at the gym’s equipment store and in rock climbing lessons.
Youth programs: They offer “kids’ club” climbing lessons every Wednesday from 5 to 6.30 p.m. for young people aged 7 to 17.
Exercise equipment: Dumbbells, kettlebells, balance equipment, battle ropes and rock climbing training boards.
Classes: Climbing lessons for young people and yoga lessons.
EPIC Climbing and Fitness
1931 Stout Field West Drive, Indianapolis, IN 46241
Located on the west side of town in an 18,000 square foot building near the Indiana National Guard Armory. It has around 50 boulder problems and over 120 rope routes at any one time. A gym with a strong community focus, which is encouraged in part by annual member parties.
For beginners : A day pass is $19. Climbing equipment can be rented for an additional fee. They offer an introductory climbing package for a minimum of two people that includes rope climbing lessons, a techniques course, and a 2-week gym pass, at $45 per person.
Membership: $70 per month. Families can get a discounted subscription of $70 per month for the first family member, $56 per month for the second family member, and $33 per month for each family member thereafter. Membership includes free gear rental for one month, free yoga classes, discounts in the EPIC Gear Shop and on gear rentals, access to Member Appreciation Nights and guest passes .
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Exercise equipment: Various climbing training boards, treadmill, stair stepper, elliptical machine, rowing machine and a weight zone with dumbbells, kettlebells and barbells.
Youth programs: Climbing camps in the summer and a youth climbing club, which acts as an after-school program in the fall and spring.
Classes: Regular yoga classes from Sunday to Wednesday. Basic strength classes and aerial tissue classes are also available.
Northern rock mass
1411 Roosevelt Ave, Indianapolis, IN 46201
Located on the near east side of town, near the Circle City industrial complex. No ropes here – this gym is dedicated to bouldering. They have around 60-70 block issues at any one time. They also have saunas, a co-working space, and a cafe that serves healthy food, coffee, smoothies, and beer.
For beginners : A day pass is $18. For students, minors 14 or younger, active military and veterans, a day pass is $14. Shoe rental is free for new customers. Anyone can also sign up for a free 30-day pass.
Membership: $75 per month. For students, minors 14 or younger, active military and veterans, $62 per month. Family membership packages cost $115 per month for one adult and one minor, plus $40 per month for any additional family members. Membership includes discounts in the gym’s retail space; access to weekly fitness classes, yoga classes and introductory bouldering classes; access to monthly events; and guest passes.
Youth programs: Offers birthday party packages, fall climbing clubs and summer camp.
Exercise equipment: Several treadmills and exercise bikes; stair lifts; elliptical machines; a complete weight training area with machines and free weights; various training boards for climbers; a “treadwall”, which is a vertical climbing wall that moves like a treadmill belt.
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Classes: Offers a variety of yoga classes, HIIT classes, Zumba classes, strength training classes and more.
Call IndyStar Courts Reporter Johnny Magdaleno at 317-273-3188 or email him at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @IndyStarJohnny