The fitness trend you ought to try
You’ve seen them, those nimble-footed ninjas, vaulting over walls, leaping between buildings, turning urban landscapes into adult playgrounds. This is parkour, a sport that demands total fitness and intense focus. Its seeming recklessness – imagine jumping between skyscrapers – strikes fear into the heart of the onlooker. But there is no place for fear in parkour: that’s the driving philosophy of this sport. You have to trust your body and move ahead.
“Every step is a leap of faith,” says 25-year-old Yuvraj Thakur, a parkour enthusiast and gymnast of The Flying Team in Mumbai. The discipline is based on spontaneity, using just your body and trust in nature to propel you. “It’s going back to basics, to realise the full potential of the human body before skateboards or cars were invented.
What are parkour and freerunning?
A training discipline adapted from military obstacle courses, the essence of parkour is finding the most efficient way to get from point A to B, reimagining the potential of the environment in which it is practised. Freerunning introduces a measure of drama into parkour, with practitioners adding flips and somersaults into the routine.
Where can you do parkour?
In urban landscapes, enthusiasts travel along rooftops, climb and jump off walls and leap from railings and fences. Any space can lend itself to an obstacle course.
How fit do you need to be?
“You need excellent core strength, very good flexibility and good cardiovascular strength,” explains Thakur. “You must be lean and not beefed up, as you need to be agile.” Strength training is key as it helps you build stamina as well.
How can beginners take up parkour?
Begin with a good strength-training programme involving squats, lunges, push-ups, leg lifts and running. Slowly graduate to a series of jumps, wall handstands, pull-ups, air squats and depth drops. Remember, you should be having fun, letting go, and enjoying its explosive energy!
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