Parkour, also known as free running, is a French military-designed training which utilizes obstacle courses. The obstacles require extreme focus and a can-do attitude, and heavily utilize physical abilities such as running, jumping, swinging, rolling and even climbing. It’s a fun and exciting way to exercise, and anyone can enjoy it.
Here are the Top 10 health benefits of Parkour from Health Fitness Revolution and Samir Becic, author of the book ReSYNC Your Life:
- Full body workout – Parkour workouts encompass total body fitness. Running and jumping over and through obstacles requires work from all muscles. Parkour adds a fun twist to your usual static gym routine. It encourages play while tackling practical and fundamental movements.
- Promotes quick-thinking skills – Parkour requires participants to negotiate obstacles quickly. These sudden moments require you to exercise your brain and think on your feet. Practicing instinctive decisions making skills in parkour can lead to participants trusting their instinctive decisions in everyday life.
- Fosters creativity – Parkour encourages participants to use their creativity. Every obstacle you meet in parkour won’t have an obvious solution, so you must use your creativity to overcome it.
- Boosts confidence – Parkour builds confidence by allowing people to be able to conquer things they would never have even attempted before. For example, when you see a large wall that before seemed like an impossible feat and you learn how to scale and get over it you may feel as though you can accomplish anything.
- Skill-related fitness – Skill-related fitness includes agility, balance, power, speed, coordination, and reaction time. In parkour, you have to call upon these skills when jumping, climbing and balancing through obstacles. Though these skills aren’t required for everyday life (imagine using parkour to get to work or school!) they are still very beneficial to have in your arsenal to ensure your physical fitness.
- Builds core strength – The core is the center of your entire body and is responsible for helping you bend, twist and transfer power and strength across your body. Developing a strong core through parkour exercises also helps to prevent lower back injuries. Having a strong core fostered by parkour helps you maneuver through obstacles with ease.
- Bone strength – Like many other high impact sports, parkour helps develop bone strength. You do a number of lower body and upper body high impact movements, enabling your body to build stronger bones from the impact they endure.
- Cardiovascular endurance – Parkour requires participants to be extremely active. The constant moving and jumping leads to increased stamina by participants, ensuring your heart is strong and enabling increased oxygen supply to your body.
- 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 rate between youth ages 8-19 was reduced by 69% during the time they coached parkour. Parkour gives people a positive way to direct their time and energy by presenting them with new challenges and obstacles each time they engage in the activity.
- Anyone can do it – Popular media makes Parkour seems like it consists of only large movements and flips, however, that is not all there is to it. Most parkour movements come from simple movements that are easy to learn.