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Benefits of Parkour

For young people especially Parkour is an attractive discipline as there is no right or wrong way to carry out a move. They are free to use their imagination and be as creative as they wish about the way in which they challenge themselves. It is also considered by peers as a cool activity which requires a lot of skill.

People in their late teens and beyond tend to look at Parkour in more of a practical way. The key reason for starting is to have fun, but they are also attracted to it because they are aware of the wider benefits. More often than not they want to have fun, lose weight, keep fit and get stronger.

Parkour key facts

  • Parkour is a form of physical activity therefore assists in combating cardiovascular disease, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes and cancers.
  • Physical activity in combination with a healthy balanced diet has a direct relationship with helping to prevent obesity or persons being overweight.
  • The effect of physical activity on psychological wellbeing has been researched to show a positive relationship.
  • An increase in self confidence and overall wellbeing can have a positive impact on learning.
  • Parkour is proven to have a direct impact on reducing antisocial behaviour.
  • A Parkour Training Facility is a positive use of an existing space and can enhance any existing facilities whether it is a play or fitness area.
  • Parkour encourages community building, social inclusion, breaking down cultural barriers and gender stereotyping. 

Overall Health

Physical activity throughout a person’s life span affects cardiovascular disease, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes and cancers.

It is recommended that an adult should have a sustained level of 30 minutes physical activity per day, 5 days a week and a child should have 60 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity each day.

Within their first month of training 100% of people felt a significant improvement in their fitness, balance and strength.

Obesity

Physical activity in combination with a healthy balanced diet has a direct relationship with helping to prevent obesity or persons being overweight.

The high levels of overweight and obesity in children are recognised nationally and the National Childhood Measurement Programme and the Department for Health’s social marketing ‘Change4Life’ campaigns aim on tackling this rising concern. The degree to which inactivity is responsible for current obesity rates has not been established but there is evidence to suggest that children who are less active are more likely to have excess fat.

Organisations representing nearly every doctor in the UK have united in a single campaign to tackle rising levels of obesity. A spokesman for the campaign, Prof Terence Stephenson from Academy of Medical Royal Colleges (AoMRC), said “Almost a quarter of adults in the UK are thought to be obese and some predictions suggest half of children will be obese or overweight by 2020, with Prof Stephenson saying they were "storing up problems for the future. This is a huge problem for the UK. It's much bigger than HIV was, much bigger than swine flu. Every doctor I've ever spoken to feels obesity is a huge problem for the UK population."

The Department of Health said it welcomed the colleges' "emphasis on obesity as this is one of our key public health priorities," and highlighted the change4life campaign to encourage healthier living, and the "responsibility pledge" by some food and drink companies to improve public health.

The latest NCMP (National Childhood Measurement Programme) data shows a positive correlation between deprivation and levels of childhood obesity.

The study provides high-level analysis of the prevalence of ‘underweight', ‘healthy weight', ‘overweight', ‘obese' and 'overweight and obese combined' children, in Reception (aged 4–5 years) and Year 6 (aged 10–11 years), measured in state schools in England in the school year 2010/11.

Obesity key Facts

  • In Reception, over a fifth (22.6%) of the children measured were either overweight or obese. In Year 6, this rate was one in three (33.4%).
  • The percentage of obese children in Year 6 (19.0%) is over double that in Reception (9.4%)
  • The prevalence of children with a healthy weight was higher in Reception year (76.4%) than Year 6 (65.3%). In both years a higher percentage of girls were at a healthy weight than boys. In Reception year 77.9% of girls and 75.0% of boys were a healthy weight and in Year 6 this was 66.6% and 64.0% respectively.
  • The overall prevalence of underweight children is higher in Year 6 (1.3%) than in Reception (1.0%). In Reception, a higher percentage of boys were underweight than girls (1.2% and 0.8% respectively); whereas in Year 6, a higher percentage of girls were underweight than boys (1.5% and 1.1% respectively).
  • Obesity prevalence varied by Strategic Health Authority (SHA). South Central SHA has the lowest obesity prevalence for both Reception and Year 6 (8.1% and 16.5% respectively) whilst London SHA showed the highest obesity prevalence (11.1% and 21.9% for each age group respectively).

As in previous years, a strong positive relationship existed between deprivation and obesity prevalence for children in each age group. The obesity prevalence among Reception year children attending schools in areas in the least deprived decile was 6.9% compared with 12.1% among those living in areas in the most deprived decile. Similarly, obesity prevalence among Year 6 children living in areas in the least deprived decile was 13.8% compared with 23.7% among those living in areas in the most deprived decile.

Overall Wellbeing and learning

The effect of physical activity on psychological wellbeing has been researched to show a positive relationship. Physical activity, sport and exercise can have a positive impact on self-esteem and body image. A review of research articles largely from the USA and Australia show that there is a positive impact through the provision of outdoor facilities on children and adolescent’s physical activity levels and consequently their health.

75% of people said that they became more focused when they started practicing Parkour.

Many parents of younger practitioners said that they attributed a great improvement in their children’s happiness and learning in school to Parkour.

Everyone we asked said that they felt an improvement in their self confidence within their first three months of practice.

Improvement of education and learning capability (Ideal for people learning within the current education system and kinaesthetic learning) 

Anti-Social Behaviour

According to figures from the Metropolitan Police, when sports projects were run in the Borough of Westminster during the 2005 Easter holidays, youth crime dropped by 39 per cent, the following year, when Parkour was added to the projects, youth crime fell by 69 per cent.

Around 90% of the people we asked said that Parkour helps them relieve anger and stress.

As a non practitioner the one thing that has struck me about Parkour is the sense of community there is within Parkour circles and the willingness to work together to achieve a common goal.  There is also a great willingness to help others”.

Positive use of existing space

With growing numbers of organised Parkour groups across the country, public acceptance of the activity and the way that users view and use their environment is fast expanding.

Parkour Training Facilities can enhance an existing space and experience has shown us that when a facility has been installed the local Parkour community take ownership and pride in the location and ensure that the facility is looked after.

Parkour is not only beneficial for those who choose to practice, but for their community as a whole.

 “If Ten Downing Street can open its doors to something as adventurous as free running I hope it will inspire other people to see what their building could be used for”.

David Cameron, Prime Minister, The Times (October 2011)

Parkour Training Facilities by their very nature cater for anyone over the age of 8 years old (ParkourUK recommended age for beginners) and therefore cater for a very large demographic that in most play areas is under catered for.

Social Inclusion

Parkour encourages community building and helps to break down cultural barriers and gender stereotyping.

As an activity that holds no rules when it comes to people who can learn Parkour, it offers an accessible variant of exercise to all, because of this it bring people together from all sorts of backgrounds, irrespective of age, physical ability, gender, or class.

A Parkour Training Facility can help develop an already existing community, or build foundations for a new one to flourish.

Parkour caters for all ages and abilities including those with physical disabilities.

More than half of the UK’s young people have heard of Parkour or Free running.

Parkour is most commonly practiced by young men aged 13-17 however the numbers of female practitioners and over 25’s are growing steadily.

The UK and USA lead the world with a 19% female participation rate and steady growth.

People now watch more YouTube videos of Parkour or Free running than and that of Skateboarding and BMX combined.

An average of one in six boys has tried Parkour.