Vaulting over obstacles, running up walls, balancing on ledges, bounding from building to building—you don’t have to be a superhero to experience the adrenaline rush that comes with defying gravity. In fact, all you have to do is sign up for a parkour class (cape optional; tights recommended). Chances are, there’s one near you: Parkour gyms have spread across the country to meet increasing demand for rough-and-tumble obstacle-course classes, no doubt spurred by the popularity of such televised competitions as American Ninja Warrior, races like Tough Mudder, and, of course, parkour YouTube videos.
(If you haven’t seen “The World’s Best Parkour and Freerunning” clip, which has 90 motion views and counting, prepare to be amazed.)
Not only do these gyms offer a safe and legal space to try out the sport, but you II get something tangible out of them—namely, a hard body. At Brooklyn Zoo, a custom-built 10,000-square-foot parkour gym in New York’s honest borough, you’ll find beginner and intermediate classes as well as lessons called ‘Ninja Warrior Tranning’ and “Tumbling & Trampoline,” even an entire session on handstands.
If you’re more interested in staying true to parkour’s no-frills en plain air origins, seek out classes that convene at a park or urban space. SF Parkour, a group of practitioners in Northern California, hosts monthly and beginner “jams” in public spaces throughout the Bay Area. (Live elsewhere? Go to American Parkour.com to find gyms and parkour meet ups.) Aside from sculpted muscles and bragging rights, it’s just plain fun-play as exercise. Where else are you going to be able to sprint, swing, and leap like a kid again?