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Updated: April 27, 2014 12:16 IST

When fitness is all about fun

Damini Nath
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Aman Roy showing a move called ‘tree spin’. Photo: Shiv Kumar Pushpakar
The Hindu
Aman Roy showing a move called ‘tree spin’. Photo: Shiv Kumar Pushpakar

Training form parkour is becoming popular

An NSG commando undergoing training in Manesar and a seven-year-old girl playing in Lodhi Garden shouldn’t have much in common. This unlikely pair was being instructed in the discipline of parkour by the same trainer.

The trainer, 24-year-old Aman Roy, says parkour is “the art of movements or the art of obstacles”. The discipline, which originated in France in the 1980s, involves running, jumping over hurdles and basically getting from one point to another in the most efficient way possible.

“There are no limitations in parkour. It is about preparing your mind. It builds confidence and is never boring. Basically, it is total fun,” explains Aman, in between showing moves like ‘tree spins’ and ‘cat leaps’.

Everyone from gym fanatics to children, looking for something different to do after school, are taking to the high-energy form that tests not only physical fitness but also critical thinking. “I find that 90 per cent of people who go to gyms are stiff or injured in some way, whereas parkour makes one flexible and relaxed,” says the trainer.

The historic domes and tall trees of Lodhi Garden were the backdrop for a parkour class by trainers of Functional Fitness Group earlier this week. The group offers classes all over the NCR and currently has around 100 students ranging from four years in age to 50.

“The children pick it up really quickly as they more flexible and the commandos I’m teaching are already so fit that their stamina is good,” says Aman of his diverse bunch of students.

The trainers break down complex moves like a ‘tac tac’, which involves three ‘take-offs’ and a precision landing, into smaller steps to explain to the students. The children attending the class come across as confident and fearless when they scale the side of a monument, as their trainers beam with pride. In fact, the children were having so much fun that they forgot they were in a class and got into an impromptu competition.

Parkour has become more popular over the last few years as practitioners have been featured in television talent competitions. “It has become a craze in Mumbai, where a lot of celebrities are joining our classes,” says Aman. He has even displayed parkour moves in some Bollywood films.

“You can be working out with machines in a gym for years, but you won’t get the same kind of result you will by doing parkour in a park. Strength without flexibility is useless,” says Aman.

As the afternoon sun sets over Lodhi Garden, the parkour practitioners leap off gumbads, spin around trees and jump over benches. For this group, fitness is always fun.

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