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A Better New Years Resolution: Rock Climb Your Way to Fitness


Photo Courtesy of the Doylestown Rock GymJanuary first is quickly approaching and you’re probably beginning to feel self-conscious about that extra weight you put on between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Dismissing it as ‘something to keep you warm through the winter’ doesn’t really work anymore, and you’re thinking maybe that should be one of the ten New Years Resolutions you forget about by March.  Before you dish out any money and an ill thought out solution to the annual gym membership debate, let me add my unsolicited two cents.  

So you get that gym membership and the free trainer session it comes with, but you’re really most excited about the free bag you got for signing up right away.  Let’s be honest, you’ll work out religiously until mid February, Valentines Day will be less than eventful and you’ll fall back on a box of assorted chocolates.  There may be the springtime ‘get-ready for swimsuit season’ resurgence in your work out valor but by the summer that gym membership will fade into obscurity and you’ll replace the card on your key chain with a Starbucks rechargeable gift card. 

Joshua DukemanSo what, pray tell, is the solution?  The past decade has seen a boom in not just the popularity of rock climbing, but also the amount of commercial rock climbing gyms making this dangerous sport safe and fun for the public.  Not just a sport for crazy adrenaline junkies or Appalachians with some clothesline, a series of local indoor rock climbing gyms offer walk-in introductory packages and classes for beginners.  Best of all, you experience a full-body workout much more exciting than that mundane routine of repetitive motions some under-qualified trainer with a Napoleon complex set up for you.  

That full-body workout hits the core hard, so after a few weeks, you’ll feel like its time to share that belly ring with the world again, and this time they’ll appreciate it.  Each climb is different, forcing you to pull upon abstract muscle groups while flexing your most important muscle to puzzle together your next move.  Much more than any grunt-fest weight gym, you’ll be accepted into an eccentric group of people who will help you develop your climbing style and most importantly push you.  Those days when you just don’t feel like going to the gym, you’ll do it anyway for the exciting and comical social aspect that has become notorious at many rock gyms. 

The rest of winter and an amateur competition or two will set you up nicely to try some outdoor climbs, and right when you’re starting to get tired of indoor climbing, your gym will offer guided trips to local climbing hotspots.  So before you sign up at the next cookie-cutter fad gym, try a little rock climbing and see if you don’t love it. 


Joshua Dukeman is a guest writer for Philly2philly.com. He is an instructor at the Doylestown Rock Gym and Adventure Center.  He is currently working in the Education field and has been a driving factor in the successful Adaptive Climbing Program for children with special needs.  For more information, visit www.doylestownrockgym.com

Rock gyms near Philadelphia:

Go Vertical
950 North Penn St.
Philadelphia, PA 19123
Phone: 215 928 1800
EMAIL: info@govertical.com

Philadelphia Rock Gym – Brandywine Valley
Mon-Fri: 12pm to 10pm
Sa-Su: 10am to 8pm
255 South Mount Airy Rd
Valley Township, PA 19320

P: 877-822-7673  |  F:610-365-7917

Philadelphia Rock Gym –Oaks, PA
Mon-Fri: 12pm to 10pm 
Sa-Su: 10am to 8pm
PO Box 511 
E-520 122 Mill Rd

Oaks, PA 19456

P: 610-666-7673   

Doylestown Rock Gym Adventure Center Inc.

3853 Old Easton Rd
Doylestown, PA 18902
215-230-9085 office
215-230-6920 fax

Photo 1: Photo Courtesy of the Doylestown Rock Gym; Lead Wall 

Photo 2: Photo Courtesy of Rachel Dukeman; Joshua Dukeman rock climbing in Bar Harbor, Maine