Photo by: Sergio Silva
So I followed an innocent link from the mild-mannered Washington Post "Lean Plate Club," (not sure how to link; it's a newsletter you have to sign up for). It just said "Using the outdoors is a great way to keep your workout fresh!"
Well, sure, I can go along with that. So I clicked a few links, and... holy crap! There was a whole weird wild-assed new form of exercise that was lying hidden there behind the understated prose that I'd never heard about.
I don't watch much tv or see many music videos, so perhaps you all are years ahead of me on this.
Parkour and FreeRunning are sort of like skateboarding without a skateboard. From what I understand, parkour places more importance on speed; freerunning is more about the acrobatics. But basically, people run around, usually in urban environments, and gratuitously jump over and off of things. They climb up things that don't look climbable and do flips and fly around in ways that defy gravity. A lot of them seem willing to risk life and limb and incarceration and looking like asses (when they fall) and I didn't see a lot in the way of helmets or pads.
As a sidenote: I went to a rollerskating rink last summer (long story; it was the Lobster's fault). I fell once, banged my head, and said: never again. Never ever ever. And sure, I fell all the time as a kid--but it f*cking hurts a lot more to fall when you're over 40! Alas, parkour is not for me.
But there is something appealing about the idea, as nutty as it sounds. It looks, well, fun. (Especially if you were 17 years old and made of rubber). And sorry, dial-up folks, but there's not other way to really to describe it without resorting to video.
For a more sensible, instructional, less psychotic video, try this Washington post introduction to parcour. I don't think registration is required, but I could be wrong about that.
But for a better idea of why this is whole phenomenon is starting to get some press, check out this video. If you are over the age of 25 or watching at your place of employment, you may want to turn down the sound before it gets past the opening credits--as least on my computer, the music was way too loud.
And here's a website with a little more instructional info about parkour if you're feeling inspired to give it a try.
And please, if you do, keep us posted! Any takers?