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“Firstly, your starting age does have a bearing on your physical training. Your body undergoes a variety of changes throughout your life which change its ability to cope with physical demands. If you start at a young age then you can help prepare the body for continuing to practice in later life, but the older you are before you start the more you have to adapt your training from that done by other, younger people.

For the purposes of this article, the age range is split into young people (0-15), adult (16 – 28) and older people (29+). These age ranges are not meant as an absolute rule, but as a rough guide only. Individual rates of development often vary greatly.

With young people, the fact that their body is still growing means that they are very susceptible to injuries from repetitive movements and great forces. To eliminate the risk of these injuries young people should concentrate on fitness, general agility and control of movements and ignore techniques that require impact or great forces. These can all normally be done in a parkour training environment suited for young people but these skills can also be supplemented through other activities. Experience of different activities is always beneficial for developing a well-rounded individual and so young people interested in parkour should be encouraged to try other things as well.

Rock climbing develops many useful physical skills such as poise and balance, as well as having obvious benefits with upper body strength. The most important benefit though comes in learning how to deal with dangerous situations and how to act responsibly and developing this maturity. Other potentially useful activities include martial arts, gymnastics and outdoor sports of all kinds. These all develop fitness and muscle control to some degree, however many competitive sports are more concerned with achievement rather than sustainability so it pays to be careful when choosing to supplement your parkour training.

For older people, the same rules about being careful about impacts apply, but for different reasons. The older the body gets the less able it is to repair itself and this makes older people more susceptible to the same sorts of injuries as young people. With older people though, the emphasis is not on preparing to be able to cope with these stresses later on but on learning movement based on lower impact.

The important thing to remember is that as long as you listen to what your own body is telling you and adapt your training to suit your own needs there is no reason that people of all ages cannot train and improve.”

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Parkour (or le parkour) is the physical practice of traversing elements in both urban and rural settings, although it is sometimes seen as a philosopy. The goal is to move from one point to another as quickly and efficiently as possible. This discipline was created in France, in Sarcelles, Lisses and Evry by David Belle, Sébastien Foucan, and the founding members of the Yamakasi. It is inspired by “the natural method of physical education” by Georges Hébert who first saw this form of movement done by Africans in Congo. It was then spread worldwide by films, television reports, and amateur videos on the Internet.

The term freerunning is sometimes used interchangeably with parkour. While parkour aims to enable the practitioner to be able to move quickly and efficiently past obstacles, freerunning has a greater emphasis on self-expression within the environment. Freerunning includes tricking moves such as aerial rotations and spins, while the purist definition of parkour founder David Belle would not consider these part of parkour because the moves are merely showy, not efficient, and do not help the participant to get from place to place. Although Sébastien Foucan co-founded parkour, his philosophy differed and so he is generally associated with freerunning (see below).

A practitioner of parkour is called a traceur if male, or traceuse if female. The word is most likely derived from parisian slang verb “Tracer” which means “to move fast” or “to hurry”. In proper French “traceur” is an adjective qualifying something that leaves a trace or a trail behind it.