As someone who likes to lead a healthy lifestyle, I am always looking for innovative ways of keeping fit. Whether that means trying out a new class, jumping on the next fitness craze or going back to basics, there’s not much I wouldn’t do in the name of fitness.
And I really couldn’t get more back to basics than with a class with Parkour Generations. On initial receipt of my email requesting me to come along to one of their classes in London, it’s safe to say that I was somewhat baffled as to what I was letting myself in for. But any confusion I may have had over what Parkour was, dispelled in the minutes after meeting Fizz Hood, one of the Parkour Team Members.
In the brief discussion I had with Fizz, I realised that Parkour was an art of movement, a discipline that enables the practitioner to travel freely through and over any terrain they may encounter. It is more than a physical fitness class and incorporates fundamental mental attributes for movement including balance, strength, dynamism, endurance, precision, spatial awareness and creative vision.
But no amount of listening to the theory of Parkour would have made me understand the true concept of the physical class until I partook in it. I was rearing to go the moment I was introduced to Brian, my coach for the evening. The warm up was tough mainly because it was different than anything I had tried before so my body was not used to it. Brian had us crawling on all fours, jogging sideways on the move, and giving our team members piggy backs. And despite feeling exhausted, I was having fun too.
The workout itself was also far from conventional and strength, endurance, precision and spatial awareness all came into play.
Our first hurdle was to walk along a metal bar attached to a brick wall. A balancing act that required a lot of focus.You had to train your mind into thinking you could accomplish the task before you could physically do it. To say it was challenging is an underestimate but what I really enjoyed the words of encouragement you received from fellow team mates who were routing for you to succeed.
For our next task we were taken to an area that contained small concrete platforms close to wall and we had to sprint from a distance onto it before clinging to a wall with railings. It was great fun and I had several attempts at this before I felt I had mastered it. Then came a big hurdle. I had to jump over a large length of waist high brick wall in quick succession. My fellow teammates made it look easy – but I soon realised that it would take me a couple of weeks to perfect the move.
After a few more acrobatic moves using props in parks, dwellings and the general outdoors, I was surprised that over two hours had lapsed and it was time to cool down.
Parkour contained the mental and physical challenges of a gym session but without the monotony of the same routine and equipment, making it the perfect activity for those wanting to try something new and get fit at the same time. And what’s more, you’ll feel part of a community embracing the great outdoors, and right now, there really is no better place to fit and active than London.
For more information on Parkour Generations classes in and around London, log on to http://www.parkourgenerations.com/