First developed in the late 1980’s, parkour focuses on overcoming obstacles; this encourages not only the use of your entire body but also your mental faculties. Parkour was first used to navigate the French military obstacle course before it caught the eye of many thrill-seekers and intrepid souls and turned into mainstream high-intensity activity.
Essentially, the practice requires you to estimate the heights of drops and distance between buildings. The combination of thinking on your feet while navigating through different spaces by just relying on your skill and strength is nothing short of challenging. It is also the main reason why parkour is one of the most distinctive activities out there.
Besides being a thrilling activity that engages both your mind and body, parkour is doesn’t require you to invest in any additional equipment (except some really good running shoes). Additionally, parkour can be practised anywhere; you can turn a typical space that you have seen or passed by countless times into a training ground.
Benefits of Parkour
Parkour comes with numerous benefits for the body, it has been proven to maintain and improve the overall health of the body.
Full Body Workout
Unlike other workouts, parkour engages the entire body. It forces participants to navigate their way in and around obstacles, conquer heights, and jump great distances. Parkour essentially pushes the body to its limit by encouraging the use of multiple major muscle groups in the body. This activity also works to increase stamina and the overall endurance of the body. Hence, parkour provides a deeper and more rewarding workout compared to a mundane gym routine.
Increases Bone Strength
Some parkour movements have been proven to help develop bone density. Athletes are required to perform several upper and lower body movements with varying levels of impact. The specific movements that are high in impact are the ones that help to strengthen the bones. Basically, the more impact the bones endure the stronger they become over time.
Promotes Quicker Thinking
As mentioned before, parkour isn’t just a physical activity. It is as much a mental activity as it is a physical one. Parkour trains athletes to think on their feet, to plan the next movement while currently executing the present one. In this sense, I guess you could say the mental aspects of parkour is something like a game of chess. Participants are required to make quick, logical and calculated moves to overcome obstacles. Long-term training and practice can lead to faster reaction times and allow participants to easily trust their instincts and follow them without a second thought.
Parkour fosters creativity in its participants, it pushes them to see their obstacles in a different perspective so that they can find ways to conquer and overcome it, even when there is no obvious solution. Parkour turns any public space, back alley or even a parking lot a potential place where you can test and practice your skills. It’s been shown that people who practice parkour also find their newfound creativity profoundly helpful in their daily lives.
Through consistent progression and training, parkour builds confidence as it shows that there is no obstacle that is too difficult to overcome. Another added advantage of parkour is that it helps people find hidden talents and conquer their fears by pushing them out of their comfort zones. This in turn greatly cultivates a healthy dose of confidence that will not only help you in the progress of the activity but also outside of it, in real life.
Builds Core Strength
Core strength is essential to twist, bend and transfer the power and strength across the body. A strong core improves the movements and reduces the risk of injuries. Additionally, it makes the individual more agile and flexible, which is extremely helpful to get in and around spaces big and small smoothly and quickly. Parkour works well to reduce back injuries and promote a better posture in an individual.
Anyone Can Do It
The best thing about parkour is that it can be practised and enjoyed by practically anyone. In fact, anyone from an 8-year-old to an 80-year-old can follow specific steps make good progress on the activity. Since parkour has varying levels of intensity and impact, anyone can progressively build their strength and endurance until their ready to move on to executing more complicated moves.
The Bottom Line
It’s clear that parkour goes beyond just allowing individuals to jump across buildings and scale heights as easily as a cat can. It improves the overall health of the body and improves our mental faculties by fostering creativity and keeping you on your feet. Besides keeping your body trim and mind sharp, parkour pushes the body and mind to its limit and challenges an individual in more ways than one. Essentially parkour is an underrated activity that is far from a mundane and routine workout that will easily bore you.