PARKOUR COULD BE THE NEXT BIG THING IN FITNESS. THINK CROSSFIT WHILE RUNNING THROUGH THE STREETS.
Parkour is a discipline founded by David Belle in France in the early 1990’s, inspired by his father who was a child soldier in Vietnam and trained on parcours, or obstacle courses.
“Parkour is firstly about the useful side,” says Belle, “to teach people how to trust themselves, to learn to be careful. The philosophy is always to advance, never to stop. If sometimes you have problems – like in life – if you have an obstacle, you must always continue forward.”
Like CrossFit, Parkour emphasizes natural, functional movement. It’s total fitness: strength, flexibility, finesse, balance, endurance, and speed. It’s incredibly challenging and fun at the same time. It feels like play. It’s about getting out of your comfort zone and overcoming obstacles – both physical and mental. It’s about building a sense of readiness in yourself.
Parkour is hard to describe – you have to see it to believe it. I watched a class (and jumped in for a few easy vaults) at APEX Movement, a top Parkour gym in the Denver area. But I wanted to see what it looks like when you take it out into the streets.
To inspire me, the trainers at APEX had me watch this video featuring some of their students (do not try this at home!):
Amazing. In sharp contrast, when I try Parkour, I look more like Abby from Broad City. But that’s okay, I’m having fun. I’ll just keep practicing my sprints, vaults, and cat leaps and see where it takes me.
For more on Parkour, visit Parkour.com.
[Photo Credit: Shutterstock]