Lifespring 360 degrees fitness brings a new recreation sport to town

It's a breezy Sunday afternoon and Lifespring 360 degree fitness centre is buzzing. Children splash about noisily in a glistening swimming pool under the watchful eyes of their parents; another bunch of kids are hitting the ball on a tennis court. Past the ‘net cricket' facility (where one learns cricket with an automatic ball throwing) there is a 35-ft wall. Wall climbing is the latest addition in fitness.

Lifespring offers its members wholesome fitness. What started off as a Sports Condo or a sports complex is now called Lifespring 360 degrees fitness. It offers multi-access facility to premium fitness services which include squash, tennis, badminton, swimming, roller skating, fitness studio (dance, aerobics, yoga, arts and crafts), gym ( fitness centres), and net cricket . “Every year, we introduce a new service,” says Benedict John, director of Lifespring. This year, wall climbing has been added. The objective is to treat fitness as fun-filled leisure activity. “Now we have arts and crafts classes and martial arts such as Karate too,” he adds.

The blue-and-white wall is a sturdy steel skeleton structure coated in marine plywood and has a rough texture. Silhouettes of people rock-climbing and rappelling add to the aesthetics. The wall has holds made of wood. While the inclined front wall is used for vertical wall climbing, the straight side wall doubles up as a rappelling wall.

The entire facility, called an intermediate wall, is used for basic wall climbing. A bright yellow ‘bouldering wall', eight ft tall and 25 ft wide is erected on the other side. With the bouldering wall, one learns to climb sideways. It is primarily used for beginners, especially children. The evolution of man is illustrated on the wall.

It was a YouTube video ‘The Insiders' that got them thinking about wall climbing. John says the sport is believed to be popular among girls as they have flexible bodies, better concentration and better body balance. However, one needs to be totally fit. The straight wall is tilted at 45 degrees at different levels to make it more challenging. He says fitness has evolved. Outdoors is the way to go. “There is more to fitness than gymming indoors. Those interested in adventure sports and are hard-pressed for time to go on a trek indulge in such outdoor fitness activities available within the city limits.”

The idea is to attract teens, especially the 15 to 25 age group. “We want to bring them here and promote the place as a hangout where they can relax and stay fit too,” he adds.

Psychologically, wall climbing gives one the feeling of climbing a rough rocky terrain, and improves body balance and concentration. A safety harness is tied to the waist of the climber; a belayer on the ground holds the harness rope and makes you walk across the wall. “In real rock climbing, you look for fissures and cracks. Here, the grips show the way but the experience prepares one for the real thing.” Wall climbing has been popular in the U.S. for many years as a recreational activity. Popularly referred to as gym climbing or sport climbing, the fabricated structure is set up in gyms and homes. In India, it is catching up, he says.

Lifespring works on a membership subscription model. For a yearly membership of Rs. 10,000, one has access to various sporting activities. Net cricket and Wall climbing are available on pay-and-use basis. Summer camps are on for children.

Lifespring is located at SF No.6, Nava India Road, Cbe-28. Call 6586643/ 2315165/ 98422-45895.