Gyms are so old hat. Body weight exercises and freedom of expression is what you really need to keep fit. Okay, so that’s not quite true, but the supreme strength shown by parkour enthusiasts is testament to the benefits of the adventure sport.
Time Out spoke to Dubai-based pro-free runner and parkour athlete Abudi Alsagoff to find out more.
What makes parkour different from other fitness pursuits?
Parkour is a comprehensive training method that focuses on both your physical and mental strength.
How is someone defined as being good at parkour?
I’d say that they have full body awareness. Quick decision making is also a part of it.
What is needed for someone to start practising parkour?
You only need a pair of good shoes, and then your imagination. The world really is your playground. It’s worth watching some tutorials or learning from someone already participating should you wish to progress from the basics.
Is Dubai a good place to pursue your interest? Why?
Yes, for sure, Dubai is a very unique city with different types of architecture. The modern feel and landscape makes it a very suitable city for parkour, especially with the cleanliness, even in the busiest areas. But as with anywhere, just stay out of private property and don’t vandalise the public ones.
What makes for good parkour cities/locations?
It really depends on your skills and style of training. For example, a park with different types of bars and walls with variation of heights and distances is an awesome parkour spot.
What other forms of exercise – mental or physical – can help you enjoy parkour more?
Strengthening exercises are key. It’s important to understand how you can be strong and useful. Also, any parkour athlete knows that a lot of stretching and deep tissue rolling will help long term. For mental strength, imagination helps – let it run wild. You will also slowly need to build up the courage to take on certain landscapes.
What advice do you have for people who want to take up the pursuit?
Always train the basics in a safe environment first. A gymnastics gym is a perfect place to start, with their soft landing areas. On top of that, never skip a progression, because if you rush on to the next challenge, you can risk your safety. Last but certainly not least, enjoy and have fun. As we said, the world is your playground and you will start seeing it differently when you start parkour.
In Dubai, Movement Parkour run weekly classes in Umm Suqeim Park, Safa Park and at 24 Fitness in Al Quoz, visit www.facebook.com/MovementParkourDubai. Gravity Calisthenics Gym in Al Quoz hosts eight classes each week, plus two for kids. UAE Parkour run classes in Abu Dhabi at Al Forsan Sports Resort and Khalifa Park, visit www.uaeparkour.com.