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Finger Health and Recovery Strategies to Age Gracefully to Best Enjoy Your Entire Climbing Career

Aug 15, 2022

In this blog article, we’re going to answer two questions from our friends. The first one is why stiffness is delayed through the fingers and the second question is how can you age gracefully while climbing. So to answer these questions, let’s get into the details. 

The Important Distinction Between Stiffness and Soreness

Stiffness is felt in the joints. Soreness is felt in the muscles. If you mistake soreness for stiffness and continue climbing on stiff joints, you could be developing arthritis or other chronic conditions.

Why is stiffness delayed through the fingers? 

This talks about the fact that when you climb, you feel soreness and, for some reason, the stiffness lasts longer than it should be, especially in your fingers. Many climbers experience this, but very few of them know what to do or even acknowledge that they're experiencing it. 

Delayed Onset of Muscular Soreness

DOMS stands for Delayed Onset of Muscular Soreness. Let’s say you visit the fitness gym today for your workout. Then, you will feel soreness in a particular part of your body the following day, and it’ll become even sorer the following day after that. But by that third day, your soreness should reduce and that is normal. It's important to note that DOMS only lasts about 48 hours. But if it lasts longer than 48 hours, it tells you that either you’re pushing your body too hard, or it could be something else. 

Prevention is Better Than Cure

It’s a great idea to do the best you can to prevent any of these from happening instead of waiting for the day when you need a medical doctor to help you and give you a cure. 

How do you age gracefully while climbing? 

Many times, people just think that it's just a natural part of the sport to get these chronic injuries. But the fact is it’s not totally true. You could definitely do things to take care of your body that will prolong your climbing career and help you enjoy it for longer. One thing you can do to age more gracefully when climbing is to adopt a habit of recovery. 

Here are four recovery strategies you need to know that will help keep your body healthy: 

  • Eight Hours of Sleep - The human body was designed to get eight hours of sleep. If you can get eight, or at least seven and a half hours, that does make a huge difference for your health. When you’re sleeping, your body recovers from your workouts, so your next workout or training session is only as good as your prior recovery
  • Nutrition - Always remember that what you ingest is the fuel that your body needs every day. So eating food with more nutritional value, like fruits and vegetables, will be much more recommended than getting your meals from fast food all the time. I also have heard that you feel more energized if you do transition to a plant-based diet. So if it’s something that interests you, and you want to know more about that, please let me know.
  • Hydration - Make sure you're drinking enough water. When you feel thirsty, listen to your body and hydrate. 
  • Mobility Routine - The thing that I can usually help with is the mobility routine. When you're climbing, you're turning muscles on. But when you're not climbing, you need to be able to turn those muscles off. So during my off-climbing days, I'll usually do a mobility routine where I'll do stretching, based on where I feel tight. Incorporating some sort of stretching or mobility routine into your lifestyle will surely help your body recover very well. 

The Climber’s Back Posture

Talking about aging gracefully, even though everyone develops this climber’s back posture, it does not mean that it's a healthy posture. You arch your back, and your shoulders and neck roll forward, then you’ll notice you're kind of in this position. As a result,  that puts your shoulder in a poor position. If you're staying in that position for a very long time, that’s when these labral tears can happen without an acute injury.

Keeping your fingers in perfect health and knowing how to age gracefully while climbing is very important for your climbing career that will definitely help you enjoy it for many, many years.

Do you need more injury prevention tips? Join our Facebook group for FREE weekly discussions for rock climbers! 

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