Falls are the leading cause of hospitalization among older adults, and injuries from a fall can significantly impact mobility and independence. That’s why fall prevention is such an important issue for seniors and why balance and strength training activities play an important role in keeping older adults self-sufficient. But if Yoga and Tai Chi are a bit tame for your taste, an online Parkour program for adults over 50 may be more your speed.
According to a recent U.S. News report, a modified version of the practice of Parkour is helping older adults avoid falls, enhance strength and mobility and learn how to take a tumble without suffering an injury.
Parkour was developed in France in the late 1980s – extreme athletes used their urban environment to run, jump, climb and roll over, off, and around physical obstacles. Adapting this type of training for seniors helps them navigate the world more safely and with greater confidence. While older participants may not be cat leaping from rooftops, adapted classes help to keep training fun and engaging.
Parkour uses the environment such as curbs, stairs, ramps, chairs and the like to teach seniors how to move through the world when presented with obstacles or even a fall. Participants enjoy the game-like feel of Parkour and research suggests that because it’s fun, more seniors will stick with the programs. Because the moves can be modified for any activity or mobility level, all older adults can participate and improve their muscle strength, flexibility, balance, and agility. With more physical activity, seniors may also be able to lower blood pressure and prevent cardiovascular events.
With restrictions on gatherings due to COVID-19, many community activities like Parkour Generations Boston and PK Move have pivoted to include online virtual classes and recorded videos. More local governments are also considering making parks more age-friendly with exercise equipment that can be used by all people, but in the meanwhile, if you are looking for something new to try to stay active, “Silver Parkour” may be your cup of tea.