Milena Marczak, Michał Ginszt, Piotr Gawda, Marcin Berger and Piotr Majcher
Sport climbing, included in the programme of the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Games, is increasingly gaining in popularity as a method of physical and mental health enhancement. Studies show a positive relationship between climbing and improvement of neurocognitive functioning. The aim of this study was to determine the differences in neurocognitive indicators: time of testing, memory, and location between climbers and non-climbers. The sample comprised 30 sport climbers (15 males, 15 females; aged 25 ± 4 years) practicing climbing regularly for five years, and 30 non-climbing age- and sex-matched controls. The Tactual Performance Test (Halstead-Reitan Test Battery) was used to measure neurocognitive functions (tactile-spatial functions, motion coordination, kinesthetic abilities, learning, memory). Significant differences were found between sport climbers and controls in reference to time, memory, and location (p < 0.05). Climbers reached higher memory as well as location ratios and lower time ratios in comparison to controls. Different strategies used to complete the task between the two groups were observed. The neurocognitive functioning of sport climbers manifests itself in faster recognition and differentiation of tactile input and better spatial perception, tactile perception, and movement memory.