Opened up my email this morning and found a reference to something called "Parkour" and "Free Running". Since both of these were described as related to being active outdoors I checked them out. Parkour was initially developed in France and the name was taken from parcours du combattant, the classic obstacle course method of military training proposed by Georges Hébert a pioneering French physical educator, theorist and instructor. Free Running was developed out of Parkour. Here's the definition of Parkour taken from its website


 Parkour is the art of moving through your environment using only your body and the surroundings to propel yourself. It can include running, jumping, climbing, even crawling, if that is the most suitable movement for the situation. Parkour could be grasped by imagining a race through an obstacle course, the goal is to overcome obstacles quickly and efficiently, without using extraneous movement. Apply this line of thought to an urban environment, or even a run through the woods, and you're on the right path. Because individual movements could vary so greatly by the situation, it is better to consider Parkour as defined by the intention instead of the movements themselves. If the intention is to get somewhere using the most effective movements with the least loss of momentum, then it could probably be considered Parkour.

Although it is not described as an 'extreme sport' the movements in all of the videos I looked at would be pretty hairy for most individuals, and at least from my first brief look,  suitable only for highly active people in great shape - or willing to train up to great shape. Which brings me to my title above. A quote (with my paretheses) taken from Per-Olaf Astrand perhaps the grandfather of Work Physiology/Exercise Physiology. "Be a high energy user, not a low energy user". He was of the opinion, way back in the 60's that people could get great health benefits from using just a little more energy throughout the day. While Parkour certainly does this, most of us can fulfil this goal at much lower and more manageable levels of exertion. So, although our country is seeking to lower energy costs if not lower energy usage, we as individuals will be far better off by seeking the opposite! Expend your own personal energy with abandon!  Take a regular everyday activity (e.g. vacuuming) and do it faster. A word of caution however, although the Robin Williams vacuuming scene in "Mrs Doubtfire" certainly utilizes the 'higher energy user'  principle, in my expert opinion this is a little extreme! More like "Free Vaccuuming" Most tasks in life can be done at a slightly elevated speed or with just a little more effort.  Research has shown that anyone can get great health benefits by adopting this "higher energy user" approach to life. Even better, you can achieve this by going a little faster, or a little longer. As you think about this and the tasks in your life ..... what's coming up for you?

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