A recent article in the guardian newspaper explained that in south London, a group called ‘Parkour Dance’ are conducting regular sessions of Parkour tuition aimed at the elderly.
The sessions are not the same as the younger see or do Parkour, but one and a half-hour classes based on increasing basic movement and encouraging the elderly to be more confident and trust their own bodies especially during the winter months when pavements can be icy.
The ultimate goal set by the group is that when the elderly are strolling through the local park or walking to the supermarket, they will take the time to think about a different route or taking the route differently. The group teaches balance exercises and a few of the members have taken to endeavouring to balance while walking on the edge of a curb. This may seem a little extreme to the general public but Parkour is all about taking risks in order to break barriers both physical and mental.
When you hear Parkour you generally think of people leaping and bouncing along the skyline which seems like the product of years of practice and skill development, the group is not going for this but simply to give the elderly an increased range of movement and a stronger body. Some members of the group have taken on the challenge of trying out almost herculean tasks such as climbing over benches. These tasks may sound simple to you or me but are near impossible for a 64 year old with a hip replacement.
“This is a great opportunity for many older people like myself who live alone, to get out of the house and keep both physically and mentally fit,The social aspect was also one of the main reasons I went. You go to these charity-run social clubs and most people are sitting down, doing nothing. But this class gets everyone trying to achieve something together.” – A member from the group.
Overall while the classes may seem extreme or dangerous to some, they are widely accepted and appreciated as they help for building stronger bones and muscles. The classes take place at the Kagyu Samye Dzong Tibetan buddhist center in Bermondsey, South London and the group hopes to continue running the classes for as long as they can.
Written by Alex Bartlett