What is Parkour?
Parkour is a type of martial art that has a focus on movement rather than combat. Parkour frequently involves elements of climbing, acrobatics, and cross training techniques from a whole host of other sports. Parkour can be practiced practically anywhere with little to zero equipment. Because of the sports accessibility, affordability, and benefits to athletes of all ages and fitness levels, Parkour has seen a huge spike in popularity since the early 2010’s.
You may be asking yourself “Is parkour right for me?”. Chances are you might be second guessing yourself when posed with this question. However, we at Freedom in Motion can assure you, people of all types and backgrounds can benefit from learning Parkour. Even at the beginner levels, the health benefits of moving freely are clear.
Below are 10 health benefits of doing Parkour:
- Parkour is a full body workout –Parkour workouts encompass total body fitness. Piloting your body through various sequences of parkour movement will incorporate multiple major muscle groups into your workout. Because parkour is also mentally engaging, it often increases an athlete’s over all stamina because participants are having fun. This leads to a deeper more rewarding workout than a typical static gym experience. Looking for a guide to parkour strength training and technique? Click here to see what book we recommend.
- Cardiovascular endurance – Parkour encourages play, and play often comes with long spans of quick movement. Does this remind you of the child’s game “Tag”? It should tag totally a parkour game at its core. The constant moving and jumping lead to increased stamina by participants, ensuring your heart is strong and enabling increased oxygen supply to your entire body. This combined with efficient breathing technique, your body will soon begin feeling and functioning on a whole new level.
- Increased Bone Strength – Some Parkour movements help develop bone density. Athletes do several lower body and upper body Low-med-& high impact movements through out the course of a parkour session, enabling your body to build stronger bones from the impact they endure. Of course, the higher impact movements are never necessary to train parkour. Never the less they still offer a benefit when undertaken with control and technique. Want to learn more about how physical activity increases bone strength? Click here to read more.
- Promotes quicker thinking with fewer mistakes –Parkour often requires participants to make quick decisions regarding their next movements. Many Parkour movements by nature train participants to make logical and calculated decisions quickly to successfully perform tasks. By training movements and progressions, athletes can increase their base reaction times and accuracy allowing Parkour participants to trust their instinctive decisions in everyday life.
- Fosters creativity – Parkour encourages participants to use their creativity. Every obstacle athletes meet in parkour won’t have an obvious solution, so one must use creativity to overcome it. This eventually allows athletes the ability to find parkour value in everyday environments and objects. This makes any public space, parking lot, or back alley into a potential parkour workout session location. This also has benefits mentally outside of Parkour. Athletes report increasing productivity in the workplace with their newly expanded sense of creativity.
- Boosts confidence – The first day of parkour, for any athletes, will be filled with challenges to overcome. Many challenges, like a tall wall to climb over, for example, may not be imminently achievable on day 1. Through progression and training, parkour practitioners soon into their training discover their bodies hidden talents. This discovery will foster a new sense of confidence both in and outside of the context of parkour.
- Skill-related fitness – Skill-related fitness refers to an athlete’s repertoire of movement skills that may be called upon at any moment. These skills include balance, climbing, jumping, landing, et cetera. While practicing parkour, athletes will learn to call upon these skills at their convenience. These skills are not typically required for everyday life (imagine using parkour to get to work) but they are still very beneficial to have in your arsenal to ensure your physical fitness. Additionally, having these skills in your pocket may protect you from unexpected falls or emergencies. Not only does one become mentally fit, but athletes also enjoy a sense of security in everyday life.
- Builds core strength – Core strength is essential when it comes to bending, twisting and transferring power and strength across your body. Not only does developing a strong core through parkour exercises create a more agile individual, it also helps to prevent lower back injuries and promotes better posture.
- Reduces antisocial behavior – Parkour has been proven to reduce antisocial behavior. In a study conducted through a youth incentive in Westminster in conjunction with parkour coaching, crime rates between the youth participants between the ages 8-19 had reduced by 69% after they received parkour instruction. Parkour builds mental fortitude. With new found confidence and abilities, youth feel more independent and able to take on life challenges. To see how Parkour is better than traditional team sports on this subject, check out our blog post Why Kids Quit Sports – The Parkour Solution.
- Anyone can do it & everyone should do it. – At the beginner levels of parkour, the sport is all about learning how to move. The specific steps to follow may vary from an 8-year-old to an 80-year-old, but the principle remains the same. Begin with the strength and mobility you currently have, and through progression and practice, one learns to move more efficiently and with more confidence. Begin with baby steps like learning how to walk up stairs or hopping onto a tree stump with both feet. From these initial achievements are top level athletes created like the ones you may have seen in popular media. “I can do parkour” try saying that to yourself out loud a few times. Feel good doesn’t it? Want to give parkour a try but think you may have some apprehensions? Contact us and we’ll give you some helpful tips!
We hope you enjoyed this list of health benefits parkour can have on the human body and mind. Have any of these topics resonated with you? We would love to hear about your experience in the comments below!
Leave a comment and tell about your experience with parkour’s health benefits!
Freedom in Motion
Moving freely since 2014