for a gym membership, walking and running are both effective alternatives. Either of these will get you fit, but some find them a bit mundane and that is where an exercise like parkour or free running can be a way of livening things up and making keeping fit more fun.
What is parkour and why should you do it?
Parkour is a form of fitness training that sees you try to make your way across a complex environment and is inspired by the obstacle courses used in the military. This means you can find yourself running, rolling, jumping, climbing – anything needed to get past the obstacles in your way and reach the end point. As you can see, it is more exciting and fun than ordinary running. Aside from helping you get in shape, parkour also has the additional appeal of making you think on your feet and use your inner resources to overcome challenges. So how should you approach it as a beginner?
Find out about classes
Rather than just trying to go it alone, if you are really interested, find out if there are any parkour classes near where you live. If possible, start with an indoor class, but attending a group will enable you to learn from an experienced practitioner – who is known as a ‘Traceur’.
Master the basics
Alongside running, some of the moves most often used in parkour are climbing, rolling and vaulting and these are the moves that you will need to master. The best way to achieve this is just by repeating them constantly as doing this will help your muscle memory to retain them. Although parkour training will involve lots of drill-like repetitions of moves, it should also be hard physical work, because that will get your body into condition and provide protection against injury.
Go from small to big
Because parkour is such an exciting way to exercise, it can be tempting to try complicated moves very quickly. However it is much safer and more sensible if you tackle moves that are at the upper end of what you can manage, but no more, as at first your body will still be adjusting to a demanding activity and you don’t want to overstretch yourself.
If you are able to benefit from trained coaching, you will want to move from indoors to outdoors parkour fairly soon. It is really designed to be an al fresco activity and outdoors work is more testing. Start with relatively easy obstacles and moves and then work up to the tougher ones as you get more in shape.
Parkour is a way that you can get your body in condition and improve your health, but it is also a fun way to test yourself and meet people. If you follow this guide as a beginner, people will soon be calling you Traceur.