In 2009, Westword writer Joel Warner told the story of Colorado parkour pioneer Ryan Ford, who had recently opened the world's largest parkour gym, APEX Movement. Since then, the sport -- described on APEX's website as "an art of movement in which you train the body and mind to overcome obstacles" -- and the gym have grown. The most recent addition? Parkour for grandmas.
The story comes to us via Cosmo Dudley, one of APEX's parkour instructors. "We've created a low-impact adult curriculum for adults with really low fitness, including baby boomers and the elderly," Dudley says.
Called Parkour Lite, its less the Spider-Man building-leaps and wall-flips that have made parkour a phenomenon as it is teaching basic fitness, balance and maneuvering skills. The five-week Parkour Lite curriculum covers squatting, jumping and rolling -- all parkour staples that have uses in everyday life, Dudley says. "A squat for your grandmother or grandfather is sitting in a chair and getting up from that chair without using a cane or a table," Dudley explains. By that same token, he says, "a dead lift is setting down your groceries to open the door and then picking up your groceries again."
"We want to use fitness to allow these adults to remain able," Dudley says.
Like usual, APEX is on the cutting edge. One of the only gyms to offer such beginner courses, Dudley says APEX started Parkour Lite classes in October. They're offered Tuesday and Thursday evenings at the same time as the Parkour Youth classes for five- to eleven-year-olds in the hopes that parents will drop their kids off at class and then participate in a class of their own. The next session starts December 6 and runs for five weeks.
And who knows? Maybe grandma will become the next YouTube sensation.
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Check out a 2009 video of the APEX Movement Pro Team below: