Wall climbing and stress relief

6 Nov 2006 | Lance Cpl. Patrick M. Fleischman

The relationship between managing stress and scaling a difficult rock wall creates a parallel in that they both hold your life in the balance.

SemperFit’s new class “Stress Management and Wall Climbing” in the Courthouse Bay Fitness Center, uses wall climbing and a stress management class to help find outlets for the stresses of everyday life.

“We’re using the wall climbing as an example of a way to reduce stress by asking Marines to focus on a tricky task,” said Craig F. Reed, health promotion and branch head for SemperFit here.

It wasn’t quite a mountain, nor was it an ant hill, but to the Marines who attended, it was definitely a workout.

“It looks a lot easier then it really is,” commented Pfc. Blake Dellinger, a combat engineer in training at Courthouse Bay.

Scaling the almost 18-foot wall is done with the aid of grips, simulating rock extrusions placed and is color-coordinated according to the difficulty that the climber wants to experience, explained Tim Comeaux, facility manager at the Courthouse Bay Fitness Center, and former Marine.

“It’s completely safe and we use an automatic belay system that lowers you slowly to the ground, so you can work at your own pace,” said Comeaux.

The four-sided wall contains numerous routes, which vary in difficulty from simple, straigt climbs to complex routes consisting of simulated rock ledges and overhangs.

“We try to accommodate many skill levels with this wall,” added Comeaux.

The class moves from the rock wall to a classroom setting to discuss how to manage stress, which is hosted by Reed.

“Wall climbing is a great way to get everyone’s blood pumping and open them up for conversation, said Reed.

Opening the discussion with facts about stress, Reed explains that 78 percent of American workers are stressed, 75 percent of all doctor visits are due to stress-related complaints, and how 25 percent of American workers view their job as the number one stressor in their lives.

“We cover topics about stress such as the philosophy, physical and mental signs, what you can do about it and how it builds in to anger,” said Reed.

In addition, Reed addresses in a scientific manner why stress is a good thing and how the entire system of stress works at a chemical level.

“There is nothing wrong with being stressed or angry, but it’s important to understand how stress works, how to acknowledge the signs and how to take action before the stress takes over,” concluded Reed.