In Koonar’s article, Rock Climbing As A Strength and Cardio Workout, he describes how climbing is an excellent source of both cardiovascular exercise and strength and conditioning. Koonar also speaks to the mental challenge and benefits that come from climbing.
I agree with everything he says in the article, but saying that climbing in general is a cardiovascular exercise is a bit of a stretch in my opinion. I have climbed recreationally for about 12 years now, and unless you are speed climbing, or doing a special type of climbing, such as top roping, or climbing both up and down the rock face, it is in my opinion that rock climbing is mainly an anaerobic activity (unless you are a professional or performing at a high level). While I do believe rock climbing is a great exercise for increased strength, I do not think it is right to educate the general public that just by putting on a harness, and attempting a climb, that they will be getting a well rounded cardio and strength training workout.
I was very fascinated by the fact that Koonar mentioned the mental aspects of rock climbing. I feel as though not very many people in the general population talk about the mental benefits of climbing, but I feel as though it always challenges my analytical thinking. I enjoy climbing so much because there is not just one route on a climb. While in order to complete the route, you need to only use holds designated by the color of the tape of the route you are doing, you have the possibility of doing the same route countless different ways. Rock climbing is challenging, both mentally and physically, it just is not necessarily what I would consider a good cardio workout, especially for beginners, or slow, methodical climbers.