Parkour – It does a body good, yes, even us old dudes

Parkour backflip chalk art

If you’re not watching American Ninja Warrior, what are you doing with your life? As I’ve mentioned many times, my schedule is insanely full and I don’t get a lot of time to veg out and watch TV. One show I do watch with my kids, is the impressive and inspiring American Ninja Warrior. The feats of parkour abilities, amazing physical conditioning, and general triumph over adversity are incredibly moving.  When we heard there was a parkour gym opening in our town, we just had to try it.

I’m writing this post from Dynasty Fitness while my son takes his class. Both of my boys (7 and 9) take parkour lessons. They’ve been doing it for about three years now. They’re not the only one in the family that does though. At the ripe old age of 36, I started taking parkour lessons myself. It’s an all ages activity and every exercise can be modified to fit your skill and conditioning level. As the title suggests, I’m no spring chicken, and, even after a year and a half of weekly lessons, I’m still overweight (calorie restriction is better for weight loss and I enjoy food too much), but I am much more athletic. I can do forward rolls with fluidity, I have found faith in my hands as I’ve grown their strength and I can swing from obstacle to obstacle, I can jump to bars, shimmy across walls while hanging from a pipe. It’s great. I’m nowhere near ready to compete on Ninja Warrior, but I’ve come so far. If I had more time to devote to it, two or three more hours per week, I know that my results could be much more impressive.

As good as the general health and confidence benefits are, another great part of parkour is the community. I participate in the only “adult” class this gym currently offers and other than myself and a coworker I’ve talked into joining me, the class is a majority of just older teens. Yet this sport doesn’t attract the same level of competitiveness that other sports do. Everyone competes against themselves and everyone cheers on others when they hit their personal best.

I look forward to my one hour on Monday nights all week. I know I’ll leave exhausted and sweaty and that I’ll most likely be sore for a day or two, but it is completely worth it. How about you? Have you ever tried parkour? Does it sound interesting? I challenge you to find a local gym and ask for a trial class. It really is like being a kid again

Image Credits: Benjamin Hollis