Besides building muscles and endurance, bouldering, which involves climbing rocks or walls to a moderate height without ropes or a harness, ...
Besides building muscles and endurance, bouldering, which involves climbing rocks or walls to a moderate height without ropes or a harness, may also treat symptoms of depression, suggests new research.
"Bouldering, in many ways, is a positive physical activity," said Eva-Maria Stelzer, one of the researchers and a doctoral student of psychology at University of Arizona in the US.
Because many people who are depressed deal with isolation, bouldering as a treatment could bolster physical activity and be used as a social tool allowing people to interact with one another, Stelzer said.
"Bouldering not only has strong mental components, but it is accessible at different levels so that people of all levels of physical health are able to participate," she added.
In the study, more than 100 individuals participated in a bouldering intervention in Germany.
The participants were randomly split into two groups. One immediately began the intervention, while the other group had to wait to start bouldering.
Each participant bouldered for three hours a week over the course of eight weeks.
The research team measured the depression of group members at different points in the study using the Beck's Depression Inventory and the depression subscale of the Symptom Check List Revised, known as SCL-90-R.
The findings are scheduled to be presented at the 29th annual Association for Psychological Science Convention, being held from May 25-28 in Boston, Massachusetts.
"Patients enjoyed the bouldering sessions and told us that they benefited greatly," said Katharina Luttenberger of the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg in Germany.
"Since rumination is one of the biggest problems for depressed individuals, we had the idea that bouldering could be a good intervention for that," Luttenberger added.
Given the positive results, the team believes that bouldering may be used to complement traditional care for clinical depression.