What is your favorite way to exercise? There are many ways, but one that a lot of people find especially enjoyable is rock climbing. Rock climbing is one of the most challenging sports. It involves a lot of strength, patience and endurance. The challenge for climbers is to get to the top of a rock or cliff while avoiding injury. You have to be physically fit in order to climb, but you also need mental fortitude – it can take hours or days before reaching the top! Rock climbing has been around since people first started exploring our surroundings thousands of years ago. And like many other sports that were born out of necessity (e.g., hunting), it became popular because it’s fun! And with all these great benefits, there’s no wonder why Dr. Michael Deem enjoys rock climbing!
Outside of his extra-curricular activities, Michael Deem pursued his Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering from Caltech in 1991. He later attended the University of California, Berkeley, where in 1994, he obtained his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering. He has held a postdoctoral position in Physics while at Harvard University. In 1996, he joined UCLA as an Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering. In 2002, he joined Rice University as the John W Cox professor of Bioengineering and Physics & Astronomy.
During the course of his scientific career, Michael Deem has earned several awards, including the Fannie and John Hertz Fellow at UC Berkeley (1991-1994); NSF Postdoctoral Fellowship in Chemistry (1995-1996); Assistant and tenured Associate Professor, UCLA (1996-2002); NSF CAREER Award (1997-2001); Northrop Grumman Outstanding Junior Faculty Research Award (1997); Visiting Professor, University of Amsterdam (1999); A Top 100 Young Innovator, MIT’s Technology Review (November 1999) (Profile and Original Profile); Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow (2000); Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award (2002); John W. Cox Professor, Bioengineering and Physics & Astronomy, Rice University (2002-2020); Allan P. Colburn Award (2004); Editorial Board Member, Protein Engineering, Design and Selection (2005-present); Fellow, American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (2005); Member, Board of Directors, Biomedical Engineering Society (2005-2008); Fellow, American Physical Society (2006); Member, Rice University Faculty Senate (2006-2009); Vaughan Lectureship, California Institute of Technology (2007); Member, Nominating Committee, Division of Biological Physics, American Physical Society (2007); Member, Board of Governors, Institute for Complex Adaptive Matter (2007-present); Fellow, Biomedical Engineering Society (2009); BMES Representative on the FASEB Publications & Communications Committee (2009-2012); Professional Progress Award (2010) (Profile); Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science (2010); External Scientific Advisor, Princeton Physical Sciences-Oncology Center (2010-present); Associate Editor, Physical Biology (2011-2018); Edith and Peter O’Donnell Award, The Academy of Medicine, Engineering & Science of Texas (2012); Founding Director, Systems, Synthetic, and Physical Biology (2012-2014, raised $0.5M seed funding); Phi Beta Kappa, Visiting Scholar (2012-2013); Chair, Department of Bioengineering (2014-2017, raised $12M in external startup funding for new faculty); Editorial Advisory Board, Bioengineering and Translational Medicine, (2016-2019); Donald W. Breck Award for zeolite science (2019); and NACD Board Leadership Fellow and Directorship Certification (2020). He was an entrepreneur in Residence with Khosla Ventures (2021-2022) and is a General Partner with Smart Health Catalyzer (2023 to present). His name has been synonymous with innovation and thought-provoking research for three decades. He enjoys mentorship, vaccine design, and helping others invent the future.
When not working as a venture capitalist or CEO, or spending time with his two children, one of Michael Deem’s biggest hobbies has been climbing! In this article, we’ll explore how he got started and the benefits he found.
How Dr. Michael Deem Got Started in Rock Climbing:
In his mid-thirties, Michael Deem was very busy with work and he had two young children. He felt that although he was getting older, it didn’t mean that he couldn’t still have a regular regimen of exercise and fun. One day, he and some friends decided to visit a climbing gym just to check it out. They found that they all enjoyed rock climbing and they kept going back! It became a favorite activity for them – as well as an excellent form of exercise!
Recently, he spent quite some time rock climbing at Enchanted Rock west of Austin. Learning the different techniques was fun, and he progressed to about a 12a level in traditional climbing! California has great places to climb as well.
Based on his own experiences, as well as that of his friends, he found the following health benefits with taking up this rigorous sport:
Health Benefits for Taking Up Rock Climbing & Why You Should Consider Doing It
Brain Function is Increased
The challenge of climbing lies not only in the physical act itself, but also on where and how one plans their next move. To succeed on any type or level requires both body awareness as well as problem solving skills because there might not be an obvious solution that is straight forward enough for all climbers looking up at you towering over them while they try desperately with what little power left before succumbing to exhaustion from hours upon tireless effort spent trying just get so high above ground-level. Even Michael’s alma mater has a climbing gym, the Caltech bouldering wall.
But this doesn’t matter too much if we don’t insist in thinking about these things first.
Confidence is Boosted
Fear is among the greatest obstacles which prevent us from enjoying life to its fullest extent. One way for someone who fears heights (and falling) to overcome it, would be by using harnesses and other safety measures in order to climb up high rocks like those found on rock climbing courses or cliffsides near your hometown’s coastline – even if you’re just starting out as an inexperienced climber! When taking part in these activities, one can build confidence through conquering their fear. This will lead them towards building confidence and self-esteem too because they’ll find that there are many benefits associated with being confident about oneself.
Everyone Can Do It
Rock climbing is a sport for people of all ages and sizes. It doesn’t matter what your physical limits are, because you can always adapt them in order to reach the top! Rock climbing isn’t like other activities where an early start or special advantages provide great success; this one relies more heavily on basic movements that anyone could learn with enough dedication. Even 99-year olds have been known take up rock climbing.
Getting Started is Affordable
Though it depends on what kind of rock climbing you want to focus on, all that’s really needed for beginners is a pair of climbing shoes. You can purchase them secondhand or buy new ones at less than $60 apiece. If top-roping, then get yourself a harness with the necessary belay device and chalk bag which should only cost around 150 dollars altogether as beginner climber! However, if renting from gyms is more convenient because they typically have monthly memberships starting out cheaper than signing up elsewhere – but remember this option doesn’t come without risks either so do your research first before deciding whether buying essentials would be worthwhile.
Improved Strength and Endurance
You may think that climbing is all about upper-body strength, but it actually requires a lot more than just your muscles. To successfully complete the climb and get back down again without getting too frustrated with myself (or anyone else), I need cardio fitness factors such as fancy footwork in addition to my usual running routine – which would be much less effective if not for this skill! A study found out how many calories could burn after an hour at the climbing wall: 700+!
Rock climbing is all about challenge and determination. You need to be in the best shape of your life, because this activity will test every last ounce of energy from you!
It Reduces Stress
Rock climbing, like most forms of exercise, has been shown to reduce stress. But it’s not just the physical exertion that causes climbers’ blood pressure and heart rates to decrease – there is also a mental state called flow which can be found in extreme sports like this one, where participants are so involved with what they’re doing that time seems irrelevant or nonexistent; even pain doesn’t seem too much of an issue when you get into your “zone.” If rock climbing outdoors near forests (known as forest bathing), then all these added benefits increase significantly because natural scenery typically inspires feelings associated with sense of fulfillment.
It’s a Fun, Full-Body Workout
Once you start climbing regularly, the kind of sport that makes every inch of your body feel sore next day. Successful at it will inspire feelings in muscles never knew existed! The most satisfying aspect is when while working hard to fight gravity and pump up dopamine levels like crazy with success; there’s no punishment because everything feels so good (and wipes out burpees).
When you rock climb, your strength and flexibility will improve over time. You’ll no longer need someone to open jars for you! This may be surprising given that it is possible burn up 500-900 calories per hour of climbing, which might make people think twice before telling themselves they can’t try this out because their muscles are too weak or not flexible enough — the truth is with practice comes progress, so stop thinking about limitations already!
Rock Climbing is a Social Sport
You can’t help but make friends at your local climbing gym. Just like everyone else, you’ll be spending a lot of time off the wall and that’s when conversations flow. It might be someone giving advice on what to do next (aka beta), feeling bored with their own belayer or another climber wanting talk about routes they did during interval training earlier in the week -or even just catching up after seeing each other only once since last session!
Rock climbers are very social creatures and would never pass up the opportunity to have another belayer on their contact list. So even if you don’t have a top-roping partner, climbing at your local bouldering gym will give any friend with an open mind enough time in which they can find someone willing trust them completely while trusting that person right back!
Social Connections Are Created
Rock climbers are a pretty social group, and their extroverted nature is only heightened in the climbing community. Clinging to rocks for hours at time requires that one needs an excellent sense of balance; this leads people who participate in rock climbing activities into becoming very talkative when they’re not scaling mountains or taking on other tasks together!
You Learn Essential Life Skills
In the world of bouldering, routes are called “problems.” You have to be inventive and persistent if you want them completed because getting beta from other climbers or being able to reach a hold isn’t going make any difference—it’s all on how hard work pays off in climbing this new challenge!
Rock climbing requires a lot of brain power, and it can be tough to stay focused. You have to convince yourself that you’re capable even when your muscles want the opposite, but rock climbers reap rewards for all their effort: more teamwork experience, building relationships with other team members who will carry out an activity in coordination together as efficiently possible-and getting some fresh air while they’re at it!
And finally, as to whether doctors would make excellent rock climbers, Dr. Deem agrees with Dr. Michael Lin when he says: “They’re detailed oriented and stay calm under stress, and you can trust them with your life.”
Rock climbing is a sport that requires an array of skills, but it also offers several benefits to the individual. Rock climbers are often very social and learn valuable life lessons while they work hard on their climbs. These rewards make rock climbing an excellent choice for anyone looking to improve themselves in both body and mind! So, it is our hope that the above information, plus Dr. Michael Deem’s experiences, convinces you to take up this rigorous but rewarding hobby!
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