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It seems like everyone wants to ride the “I Live Healthy” bandwagon. All of a sudden people have been trading their usual food fares to organic meals, or if they become hardcore, switching to a vegetarian is also possible.

But for some health conscious who can’t afford a sudden change of routine, engaging in sports and hobbies is another option. In fact, there is a significant rise of demand for centers that offer them; and one of the fastest rising pastimes among active aficionados is the activity called bouldering.

What is Bouldering?

Bouldering is a form of rock climbing that started as an indoor activity. It is considered as the safest among the climbing category because it is only limited to about 15 feet above the ground or so although if you include topping out, then it can be a bit higher. The main goal is to reach the top using a specific route, which is referred as “problems”. The difficulty level can range from V0 up to V16, which is currently the highest and hardest.

Climbers can perform this without any rope, but for safety precautions the entire ground for indoor gyms is usually covered with padded cushions. For extra safety on certain landing spots, a bouldering pad or crash pad is used. However, some want to take it to another level and do “free-soloing”. In this case, the climber’s altitude can range from 7 meters and beyond, and will encounter longer and more difficult problems without the use of a rope.

If you’re planning to try this sport, be sure to have the following equipment before going to the gym or bouldering site. First on the list is a loose powdered chalk held in a chalk bag. It would be a great advantage if your hands are not sweaty, but even if they’re not you still need it to keep your hands dry while climbing.

Aside from having comfortable clothes, you also need to wear climbing shoes for better traction and edging capabilities. The crash pads are also a must to make sure you get support in case of a fall if you plan to do this outdoors. Another item that should go in your list is a sports tape. This will become handy in covering your cuts and blisters. If you plan to climb at a climbing gym, the chalk and shoes can be rented.

The Past and Future of Bouldering

Bouldering’s popularity can be rooted not only for its physical challenges but also for its mental ordeal. And for someone who seeks to enhance and maintain a focused mind, agile physique, and fit mentality, this sport is definitely for you.

Records have shown that bouldering started and first spread around the United Kingdom, France, and Italy in the late 1800s. It was first documented by a British engineer and innovative climber, Oscar Eckenstein. At the beginning, it was just a playful activity for climbers. But when John Gill, a mathematician and amateur gymnast found the challenge and movement of it enjoyable, he became an advocate to finally make it as a legitimate sport and to not restrict its area.

It may have come to the United States in the 1950s but many years have passed and bouldering is still not getting much attention to become a mainstream sport. Yet there are news and much optimism that it will be added into the 2020 Olympics. If that will happen, it can hopefully bring more exposure and recognition to this old-time, yet refreshing activity. Check out a bouldering gym near you to find out just how fun it is.