Have you ever watched someone leap from building to building, run up walls, or perform flips off park benches and wondered, 'What on earth are they doing?' They're probably engaging in parkour, a physical discipline that's also known as 'urban free running'. What's more, parkour can be an incredibly effective fitness regimen if done correctly. Here's everything you need to know about the basics and benefits of parkour for fitness.
Parkour, which began in France in the 1980s, is more than a sport. It's an art and a philosophy. Practitioners, known as 'traceurs' or 'traceuses', aim to move from one point to another in the most efficient and fluid way possible, overcoming physical and mental obstacles along the way.
The basics of parkour
A crucial part of parkour is understanding and practicing the basic moves. Here are some essential parkour moves to get you started:
- Vault: A vault is when you use your hands to assist in clearing an obstacle such as a rail or a wall.
- Precision jump: This is a jump where the traceur lands precisely on a small or narrow object.
- Roll: A roll is used to minimize impact after a high jump or fall.
Perfecting these foundational maneuvers will set you up for success as you progress into more complex techniques.
Getting fit with parkour
Parkour offers a full-body workout that engages every muscle group. It's particularly efficient at improving cardiovascular endurance, strength, agility, and balance, making it an excellent choice for anyone looking to ramp up their fitness. Regular parkour training does wonders to your body, such as:
- Building stronger muscles: Parkour is a form of strength training where you're lifting and moving your own body weight, which can build lean muscle tissue.
- Improving cardiovascular health: Because parkour involves a lot of running and jumping, it can increase your heart rate and improve cardiovascular health.
- Burning calories: The dynamic movements involved in parkour can burn a significant number of calories.
Benefits of parkour
Beyond physical fitness, parkour has several other benefits. Here's a table showcasing some of the other benefits you can expect from parkour.
Safety precautions in parkour
Like any physical activity, parkour comes with its risks. Here are some safety tips to keep in mind:
- Always warm up before beginning your parkour training.
- Start with basic moves and gradually progress to more difficult ones.
- Use proper equipment such as shoes with good grip and cushioning.
While parkour might seem intimidating at first, with practice and patience, it can become an exhilarating part of your fitness routine. So why not give urban free running a try? You might be surprised at how much you benefit from it.