CHARLOTTE, North Carolina (KXAN) — Parkour is not only an activity of sports enthusiasts, it’s now a way to help kids deal with life’s ups and downs while also having some fun.
Conquering obstacles by jumping, climbing and running is what parkour is all about.
“It’s fun. It’s getting in shape without knowing you’re exercising,” says Renato Varga, lead Parkour Instructor at Kinetic Heights in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Popularized by shows like American Ninja Warrior, parkour is meant to strengthen your body and mind.
Lauren Kellner, the Assistant General Manager at Kinetic Heights says, “It’s gonna be conquering any fear and all fears that you may have. Learning how to break through each obstacle.”
For Houston Campbell, parkour has helped him get past his Attention Deficit/Hyperactivtiy Disorder. His mother, Kasey Campbell, says it has helped him follow directions and set goals.
“He knows it’s OK if he doesn’t get it the first time and eventually he is going to get it if he figures out different ways to get there,” Kasey says.
Experts say the positive benefits are no surprise.
Scott Kollins, a professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Duke University, says, “exercise is good, and exercise is good for the kinds of things that we know ADHD kids struggle with like cognition, executive functioning, attention, etc.”
For Annie Lemons, a 9-year-old with early onset arthritis, she can’t participate in typical sports that include consistent pounding on the joints like gymnastics or cheerleading.
Her mom, Allie Lemons, says parkour was the right fit because Annie can work at her own pace.
Dr. Kollins suggests speaking with your family physician before beginning any new activity.