Why Practise Parkour? - Drew Taylor 26/09/09
A lot of people practise parkour, and many people want to start. However there are millions who don’t, so why bother practising parkour?
If you want to start parkour purely because you want to impress people with death defying leaps, and flips, then I recommend trying gymnastics. Parkour requires great levels of self motivation to achieve. Feeling the need to fish for compliments could be seen as a sign of insecurity, instead of feeding this, parkour builds confidence in a way that lasts longer, and is more satisfying. As explained in the ‘what’ article, parkour isn’t about this sort of compliment searching for quick confidence boosts, instead through practising parkour you can gain far more confidence by improving your body composition, making life-long friends, knowing your limits, thinking in a more positive way about how you treat your body, and being able to express yourself in a positive way.
You might be thinking, what does parkour have to offer over other sports. The answer to this would be a lot. Firstly Parkour costs next to nothing to start training; you can start with any comfortable clothes or trainers, but once you get serious I would suggest investing in a pair of running trainers. Another thing is that when practising parkour, it is entirely up to you to determine how quickly or slowly you improve; no one but yourself can make you more accurate, powerful or agile.
A big bonus when practising parkour, as I mentioned above is that it offers a chance to improve yourself physically. Through training, muscles will develop all over your body, just by doing something fun! There’s no need to visit the gym because many practitioners combine specific movement training with conditioning to build muscle to increase their ability, of course this is completely up to the person and there is no rule book to say that you must work out. Even without regular conditioning parkour will improve your body composition dramatically. When training, clearly you are shifting your body weight over and around obstacles, this produces stress on the muscles used to do so and they’re forced to get stronger, and increase in size to keep up with demand.
As well as body composition, overall fitness can be improved by parkour. The activity of exercising in any form requires irregular levels of oxygen to supply bodily tissues. Your respiratory system needs to work harder to meet the required levels of oxygen. Like muscles, the respiratory system only improves when it needs to. Therefore in order to improve the efficiency of the respiratory system, and your fitness, it’s necessary to work your body harder than it does normally. Parkour does this because its more challenging than standing still, the body needs to work harder to meet requirements, and therefore will improve to make parkour easier.
By thinking about specific movements, and Parkour in general links between Parkour and life become more apparent. Although it’s difficult although possible to explain these connections to the bigger picture, I’m thinking it’s better for you to come across them in your own way than for me to lay them out. Parkour can change the way you think about everything, providing you open up your mind. The idea of challenging structures that many people wouldn’t consider, is an interesting idea, what if you decided to challenge something else you didn’t think possible? Parkour can positively change the way you think, and interact with the world and yourself! The nature of focussing on being the best person you can possibly be can change your outlook on your school work, what you eat, the way you treat other people, how often you exercise, and generally push you into being a better person. As well as this, Parkour can give you a chance to know the limits of yourself, something that other activities don’t. Parkour can create close friends, spending the majority of your time with like-minded friends and watching them improve with you, creates strong friendship bonds.
Although these are all excellent reasons for starting, the main reason I find that motivates me is because Parkour is just so much fun! There are so many ways you can benefit from starting parkour but really what makes me work hard at it, is the enjoyment I get from achieving what I want to.