Health and fitness go hand in hand with each other. A fit and strong body is one where all of the natural bodily functions are working properly and such a body finds it much easier to fight off infection and repair injuries. When fitness levels are not high, many of the body’s functions slow down as their capacity is not being used and reawakening these processes is something that takes time. The body cannot suddenly speed these systems back up in order to cope with infection and so it is left trying to cope with these problems with fewer resources, less energy and slower responses.
The physical activity of parkour is an excellent way of combating low fitness levels. Parkour uses the whole body as many activities do, but unlike most other activities it involves using almost every part of the body with every movement. Over time, parkour also increase the demands in all areas, so it continues to develop strength and fitness of all areas beyond the capability of most other sports or activities, creating a fitter and healthier individual as a result.
In the past humans have been able to develop many skills simply through living their lives. For most of our history we have had to rely on just our own capabilities in order to survive, and every day we improved our ability to do things simply by doing them. In the modern world machines have enabled humanity to reach new heights of achievement and perform many tasks that were previously impossible, but as well as enabling extraordinary actions they have also had an impact on the ordinary actions. A large part of humanity no longer needs to use its own capabilities, both in a physical sense now that we have built machines that can move faster, more strongly and more precise than we can, and mentally now that we have computers that can do all the mental processing for complex decisions in a fraction of the time it takes us. Many of us no longer practice these skills on a daily basis, and so we no longer develop these skills to as great an extent.
Many experts in the world today criticise the lack of exercise and poor health levels in most of the more economically developed countries, and attribute many social problems to these factors. Parkour combats these problems by providing a more accessible and enjoyable way for people of all ages to stay fit and healthy. By using and challenging our capabilities we help maintain them.
As well as increasing fitness levels, parkour also helps individuals address other social issues. As part of gaining control over ones body and accepting responsibility for ones actions comes an increasing sense of responsibility, integrity and independence. Practitioners learn that they cannot blame others for their own actions and this can help negate the effects of the compensation culture that has permeated our society, where every mistake or accident requires someone to blame instead of being seen as being part of the learning process.
Through learning how to discover their own physical and mental limits, practitioners also learn to see beyond the arbitrary limits imposed by popular belief. Much of our society’s views and actions are influenced by media portrayal of events and many people are unable to, or unaware of the need to, question the assumptions made on their behalf. Parkour helps people learn how to discover things for themselves and develop more solidly based views and beliefs of their own, creating stronger and more determined individuals.