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An activity gaining in popularity both as a recreation and a demanding sport. Outdoor climbing improves aerobic fitness and all-over body strength, but is particularly good for developing muscles in the hands, forearms, and shoulders. Good technique and flexibility can compensate for lack of strength. Some women, despite their relatively low strength, are outstanding climbers. In addition to its physical benefits, climbing also helps to develop courage and self-confidence. Apart from bruises, bumps, and scrapes, few injuries occur during outdoor climbs as long as climbers have the appropriate safety equipment and instruction.

Climbing has become accessible to many more people since the introduction of climbing walls at many sports centres. Unlike outdoor climbing, indoor climbing emphasizes anaerobic fitness. Usually the aim is to climb a wall as quickly as possible. This requires powerful bursts of activity and good upper body strength. Indoor climbing is used as training by outdoor climbers, by exercisers as part of a general fitness training programme, and to relieve stress. Many people in managerial positions find the total concentration required for a quick climb blocks out all their worries. They also find the physical effort and excitement invigorating. There is even less risk of injury in indoor climbs than outdoor climbing. It is rare to have a fall because climbers should be roped at all times. The most common injury is a strained finger tendon.

Subjects: Medicine and Health.

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