news

5 Ways Parkour Positively Impacts Your Mental Health

While parkour is often thought of as just a physical activity, it also offers a number of mental health benefits that are worth exploring.

In today’s “Getting Started with Parkour” article, we are going to be diving into some of the ways that parkour can benefit your mental health in a positive way, and how it can also benefit other areas of your life.

We’ve also included some mental health resources at the bottom of this article, as well as some of our member organisations that have a focus on the positive impact parkour has on mental health.

1 – It boosts confidence and self-esteem

Parkour involves taking on challenging physical obstacles and pushing yourself to new limits. As you develop new skills and abilities, you’ll start to feel more confident in your abilities, which can translate to other areas of your life. A lot of parkour practitioners always state how what they have learned in parkour has helped them in their day-to-day lives outside of the sport.

This can lead to a greater sense of self-esteem and self-worth.

Parkour helps boost confidence and self-esteem.

2 – It helps manage stress

Engaging in physical activity, like parkour, can be an excellent way to manage stress. Exercise releases endorphins, which are natural mood-boosting chemicals in the brain. As you engage in parkour, you’ll feel a sense of excitement and exhilaration, which can help alleviate feelings of stress and anxiety.

Parkour helps manage stress – Photo by Joanna Markiewicz

3 – It improves focus and concentration

Parkour requires a high level of focus and concentration. As you navigate obstacles and plan your movements, you’ll be training your brain to focus more effectively. This can translate to other areas of your life, such as work or school, where you need to concentrate for extended periods of time.

Photo by Scott Bass

4 – It promotes resilience and perseverance

Parkour involves taking on challenging physical obstacles and learning to persevere in the face of adversity and fear. As you develop resilience and persistence through parkour, you’ll be better equipped to handle challenges and setbacks in other areas of your life.

Parkour promotes resilience and perseverance – Photo by Scott Bass

5 – It provides a sense of community and social support

Parkour is often practiced in groups or communities, which can provide a sense of social support and connection. Engaging with others who share your passion for parkour can be a great way to build relationships and feel more connected to others.

Parkour provides a sense of community and social support.

Overall, parkour is a challenging and rewarding sport that offers a number of benefits for your mental health. Whether you’re looking to boost your confidence, manage stress, improve focus, develop resilience, or build social connections, parkour is a great way to achieve these goals while having fun and staying active. So why not give it a try?

Parkour UK Courses for Mental Health

Throughout the year, Parkour UK looks to add more options for coaches and individuals within the parkour community to enhance their learning.

Since 2022, we have been running Mental Health First Aid courses.

Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is a training course that teaches people how to identify, understand and help someone who may be experiencing a mental health issue.

MHFA won’t teach you to be a therapist, but it will teach you to listen, reassure and respond, even in a crisis – and even potentially stop a crisis from happening.

You’ll learn to recognise warning signs of mental ill health and develop the skills and confidence to approach and support someone while keeping yourself safe.

Keep an eye on our socials (@parkouruk) for updates on our next Mental Health First Aid course, or check out our events calendar here.

If you are in a position where you need urgent mental health support, please take a look at any of the following links below:

Parkour UK Mental Health Advice

CALM ZONE Service Directory

Contendunt – Mental Health Helplines (Worldwide)

Parkour Classes with a focus on mental health:

Spiral Freerun C.I.C, Bedford UK – PKUK Affiliate Members
Spiral Freerun Website

Free Your Instinct – PKUK Affiliate Members
Parkour to help people with mental health support needs, operating in London, Somerset, and Bristol
Free Your Instinct Website

Aspire Parkour Academy – PKUK Affiliate Members
Parkour sessions in Peterborough, UK. Coaches have undergone mental health first aid training.
Aspire Parkour Academy Website

Parkour UK Monthly Update – December 2022

Happy New Year! Welcome to the Parkour UK Monthly Update December 2022.

This month’s monthly update will look a little different. It will be full of all the updates that happened during December, but will also highlight all the work the Parkour UK team has done throughout 2022!

First of all, the updates!

Level 1 & 2 Course Dates

In the closing weeks of the year, we announced an entire year’s worth of dates for 2023 for both the Level 1 and Level 2 courses, for the first time.

Our Level One Parkour Coaching Qualification Dates Have Been Announced.

For those looking for more information on the Level 2 coaching qualification, follow this link here for the full information, or take a look at this graphic below, designed by our digital team.

Our Level 2 Coaching Qualification Course Information for 2023

The Level One course bookings are now live on our website. Our Level 2 coaching course bookings will be live on the site very soon.

We will be announcing the Level 2 booking on our website and social media, so keep an eye on those for any updates.

MHFA Peterborough

At the start of December, we ran our second MHFA course, this time at Aspire Parkour Academy in Peterborough.

The Aspire Parkour Team was also joined by Parkour UK Tutor Dan Timms and Parkour UK Tutor and Elected Director for England, Chris Keighley.

Parkour UK MHFA Course, December 2022.
Our MHFA Course in Peterborough

UK Coaching Awards – Leeds

At the start of December, the Parkour UK team travelled to Leeds for the UK Coaching Awards.

Parkour UK nominated a number of parkour coaches for the 25th Annual UK Coaching Awards, with three of our nominations being selected as finalists.

In its 25-year history, this was the first time Parkour coaches were nominated and become shortlisted as finalists;

Sam Coppack – “The Parkour Coach Companion,” was nominated for the “Podcast of the Year” Award – Parkour Coach Companion continues to keep people connected with regular interviews and engaging episodes, bringing together international voices of parkour and curating coaching knowledge from the community.

Adam Romaine – Change a Life Award – Adam has had a profound impact on a young person named Matthew, who has Down syndrome and other complex needs. He has helped Matthew overcome significant barriers to taking part in parkour, having previously tried many other sports.

Callum Windsor – Young Coach of the Year Award – In multiple ways, Callum goes above and beyond with his sessions. His session planning extends to 3D modelling of floor plans with a detailed analysis of the optimum use of equipment. He then cascades this knowledge down to the assistant coaches and volunteers, ensuring participants enter an environment that feels structured, safe, and directed.

Although none were chosen as winners, their selection as finalists demonstrates the impact they are having and the importance of sports like parkour.

We loved the celebration of coaches and coaching, from the grassroots and the elite all the way to the volunteer/paid and new/lifelong coaches.

Congratulations to all the winners and finalists, all of whom demonstrate the impact of sport on people’s lives.

The evening was also an opportunity to enhance the relationships that we are building with other system partners to support the Sport England strategy #UnitingTheMovement.

We were joined by other members at Parkour UK, our chair Dr Tracy Rea, and Elected Director Chris Keighley. They entertained some leaders from the sector, with whom we are building strategic partnerships.

We were also joined by;

Hayley Lever from GreaterSport, which are an active partnership for Greater Manchester. They lead, support, and connect the Greater Manchester system to create conditions to enable Active Lives for All by uniting communities and creating more equal and inclusive places so people can lead happier, healthier, and more fulfilled lives.

James Hope-Gill from Skateboard GB, the official governing body for skateboarding in the UK, a membership-based and not-for-profit organisation set up to improve, support, and develop skateboarding. They aim to encourage the development of world-class facilities, help community groups get local skate parks built, create accredited coaching courses, and run competitions. 

Clare Freer from UK Coaching, supports the development of coaches and coaching, with the main focus on equality and inclusive practice. They do this directly with coaches through workshops, e-learning, virtual classrooms, and communities of learning.

We were also joined by Greg Clements from Sport England, who met and heard the stories of the parkour finalists and listened to the progress that we are making through our system and the governing roles that are supporting the national strategy.

The Parkour UK Team at the UK Coaching Awards, December 2022.
The Parkour UK Team In Leeds at the UK Coaching Awards

Our All Hands Team Meeting

On the Wednesday and Thursday following the UK Coaching Awards, the team spent some time together at the UK Coaching offices in the center of Leeds.

It was the second time that Callun LavingtonLynn JungKieran WyldeSimon VardyChris Grant, and Dan Newton have come together as a team, and highlighted all of the key work they have done since our last all-hands meeting in September. It was also really valuable to enhance relationships and understand each other’s work.

Mark Gannon, UK Coaching’s CEO, spent some time with us, speaking passionately about their work and the progress they have made in the last few years.

This year, we have been working with Lizzie Campbell, who has helped us with the review of our Level 2 coaching course, and we look forward to extending our work with UK Coaching in 2023.

Parkour UK Team at the UK Coaching Awards, December 2022
The Parkour UK Team at the UK Coaching Office in Leeds

Our AGM

We hosted our Annual General Meeting on Tuesday, November 29th. During December, the recording and minutes from the 2022 Annual General Meeting were made available. You can watch that below.

Parkour UK – AGM 2022 Recording

Our 2022 Highlights

With the updates from the month of December listed above, we wanted to take the time to reflect on everything that Parkour UK achieved in 2022.

Throughout 2022, Parkour UK has been a strong force within the UK Parkour community, and we are grateful for the support and enthusiasm we have seen from the parkour community.

We have had a number of highlights this year, and we have mapped those out below.

We received £1.5 million from Sport England. This funding is to help support and grow parkour participation and use the sport to tackle inequalities in England over the next 5 years. Following this, our Head of Development, Chris Grant went onto the Motus Podcast, one of the leading podcasts in our sport, to discuss how Parkour UK will spend the funding from Sport England.

Chris Grant, Parkour UK’s Head of Development, on The Motus Podcast.

We expanded our team. Kieran Wylde handed over his previous role as Workforce Lead to Simon Vardy. Kieran now works as our Membership Lead for Parkour UK. We also welcomed Callun Lavington and Lynn Jung in digital support roles and held a second wave of recruitment, which will be announced soon.

During 2022, Parkour UK team members also attended numerous Parkour events, including Project Underground, Storror Big Wall Open, and the Sheffield Takeover Event.

We highlighted members of our organisation and community on Instagram with our “Weekly Clips” series.

Also on Instagram, we started our “Week in Review,” series, delivered by Chris Grant. This series gives the community the chance to engage and ask questions regarding the work that Parkour UK is doing, and is a really useful tool to keep the community engaged with the work the organisation is doing.

This year, we enhanced the learning options that are available to the parkour community. We held two Mental Health First Aid courses to provide the parkour community with the tools they need in the event of a mental health crisis.

We spent a lot of time redeveloping our Level 2 coaching qualification, and for the first time, announced full-year Level 1 and Level 2 course schedules for 2023.

And, as mentioned above, we nominated Parkour coaches for the UK Coaching Awards for the first time in its 25-year history, and 3 coaches were shortlisted as finalists

And there was so much more, those highlights only scratch the surface of what Parkour UK achieved last year.
2022 was a brilliant opportunity to serve, elevate, and add value to the broad spectrum of the Parkour community, and we cannot wait to continue this momentum of growth in 2023.

Monthly Update – October 2022

Every month, we will be putting together a monthly update on our website to keep you guys updated with everything we have been working on at Parkour UK. Here is our monthly update for October 2022.

Upcoming Courses

This December, Parkour UK is running its second Mental Health First Aid England course, delivered by Parkour UK’s Head of Development, Chris Grant. The course will take place over two days, ( The 1st and 2nd of December) in Peterborough.

Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is a training course that teaches people how to identify, understand and help someone who may be experiencing a mental health issue.

MHFA won’t teach you to be a therapist, but it will teach you to listen, reassure and respond, even in a crisis – and even potentially stop a crisis from happening.

You’ll learn to recognise warning signs of mental ill health and develop the skills and confidence to approach and support someone while keeping yourself safe.

The course will cost £85, a heavily discounted rate, and is perfect for individuals, coaches, or members of organisations looking to learn something that may benefit their everyday life or workplace. You can find out more information and book yourself onto the course here.

2023 Course Dates

So far, no 2023 dates have been officially announced for any upcoming Level 1 or Level 2 Parkour UK courses. As stated in our last monthly update, we have mapped the dates for Level 2 courses through 2023, which will be announced once we are confident that the materials are going to be ready. Progress is being made, but we want to be 100% sure all the materials are there before we start announcing the course dates.

We will send out an email once these dates are confirmed and announced.

A photo from our latest Level 1 course in Peterborough

New Roles

Parkour UK is looking to recruit 2 more individuals in part-time roles for the organisation.

We are currently hiring for

  • Finance Support
  • Workforce Support

All the information can be found on our website (Click Here).

These jobs are part-time roles, this will offer the opportunity to fit around other commitments and give the flexibility to work on a variety of assignments. We want the organisation to reflect the society we live in and work across and would encourage applications from in and out of our community.

We are also holding a recruitment surgery on the 3rd of November at 4:30 PM.

Applications are open until 12 pm on the 7th of November.

Speaking With Our Members

Following the digital team coming on board earlier this year, we have now had the opportunity to sit down and have a discussion with some of our members regarding their work within parkour. You may have seen some articles being posted to our website, or shared on our Facebook & LinkedIn profiles where we dive into discussions with some of our Parkour UK members.

Recently, we have had the pleasure of speaking to Sam Coppack regarding his very successful “York Takeover” parkour event (Read Here.), and a conversation with Team Reality regarding a partnership with a local community project, and their efforts on tackling the public’s perception of parkour in their area (Read Here.)

We are really looking to elevate and tell the stories of our members, so if you have a story you would like Parkour UK to share, please get in touch via our Instagram and let’s get a conversation going.

Our Annual General Meeting Date

Our AGM (Annual General Meeting) this year is going to be Tuesday the 29th of November at 12 PM. The event will be held online in its entirety, and the following documents will be made available on November 18th, in preparation for the meeting.

  • AGM Agenda
  • 2021 AGM Minutes (Draft)
  • The Directors’ Report & Financial Statements for the year ended 31st March 2022.
  • Parkour UK – Proposed Memorandum & Articles of Association including a summary of the proposed amendments
  • Voting Form (Affiliate Member)
  • Proxy Voting Form (Affiliate Member)

More details will be released soon, but for now, save the date.

Parkour Coaches Become Finalists in the UK Coaching Awards

Some brilliant news to close our monthly update. Three parkour coaches have been announced as finalists in the UK Coaching Awards. The UK Coaching Awards offer the chance to celebrate great coaching with the entire coaching community, experience real-life coaching stories from across the UK, and be amazed by the people who transform lives. This is the first time parkour has been included in the UK coaching awards.

Parkour UK would like to congratulate,

Callum Windsor (Aspire Parkour AcademyParkour UK Affiliate Member)
Callum is a finalist for the “Young Coach of the Year” Award. Supported by Reading Room this award recognises the excellent work of a young coach who has helped and inspired people to reach their sport and physical activity needs and aspirations.

Sam Coppack (The Parkour Coach Companion Podcast – Parkour UK Professional Member)
Sam is a finalist for the “Coaching Podcast of the Year” Award. This award recognises a coach-led podcast that delivers, inspires, and informs #GreatCoaching.

Adam Romaine (Access Parkour)
Adam is a finalist for the “Change a Life” award, supported by Sport England. This award recognises a coach who has empowered and inspired an individual from a diverse community through #GreatCoaching.

That’s our update for this month. Please feel free to get in touch with us on Instagram. We would love to hear from you!

The Parkour UK team

Engaging The Community & Challenging Public Perception – Team Reality (Member Highlight)

TEAM REALITY LTD are Parkour UK Afilliate+ members based in Grimsby.

Team Reality is a parkour team first formed in 2007 originating from the Grimsby/Cleethorpes area, founded by the duo of Jake Harris and Neil Huston. Since 2010, Team Reality have been coaching their own parkour sessions to a range of individuals of all ages within their community.

Fast forward 12 years and Team Reality is thriving. They have a new partnership with Sidney Sussex Park, a group that is based within a local park who have been putting on events, functions, and activity days for the local community. 

I spoke to Jake Harris at Team Reality about the partnership, asking him about the partnership, who approached whom, and what the steps moving forward were.

Jake states:

They reached out to us. We’ve worked within the local community for many years. I think there were some mutual friends and connections, and we were recommended.  

Throughout the summer, we had the opportunity to join them for some fun in the park and give the local area around the park the chance to try parkour or just explore movement in a way they may not have before. 

This partnership wasn’t just for the summer holidays. Team Reality runs its own indoor facility, where they teach over 100 participants a week. Because of the access to this space, Team Reality has continued the partnership into the winter months.

No alt text provided for this image

As the weather has started to turn, we have been fortunate enough to bring the local community to our own facility to progress on the introduction to parkour and give them a greater experience in the sport. It also brings the community together, keeping warm and dry within our academy. 

Jake, and the other Team Reality coaches, have a very clear and passionate drive to want to make a positive change in their community, whilst also tackling the public’s general perception of parkour. Back in September, an article was published on the Grimsby Telegraph website about a group of individuals practicing parkour on the rooftops of the local area. (Read Here.)

A few days later, one of the Team Reality students, who was pictured in the article, approached the Grimsby Telegraph to explain his side of the story. (Read Here.)

The 15-year-old student highlights the positive change the Team Reality guys have made in his life growing up and in others in the community.

I’ve been coached by people with 20 years of experience in the sport and it’s a great way to become involved in a community. Everyone supports one another and we get on really well as a group.

I started at six and only got to where I am with the help of my coach’s constructive criticism. It boosted me in the sport and as a person in the long run.

In a further follow-up to this article, Team Reality took the responsibility of inviting a Grimsby Telegraph reporter down to their indoor facility for a day of parkour training. This was to help individuals outside of the sport gain a deeper understanding of how the sport is practiced at ground level and in a safe environment, before taking things up to height.

Jake states:

There was an article about ‘youths jumping roof gaps’ which happened to be one of our older experienced students. They then did an article with him about parkour and now they are coming to us to have a go

The article highlights Team Reality’s passion for instructing parkour to anyone at any age and tells the story of the reporter trying parkour for the first time. You can read this article here.

Parkour is still an incredibly new sport. It is also the only sport where you don’t need equipment, a facility, or an instructor to really go out and give it a try. It is also one of the first new sports to grow up in tandem with social media. Because of this, videos of people jumping off rooftops are attention-grabbing and tend to go viral, which, in turn, makes experienced parkour practitioners (traceurs – the French term) look like adrenaline junkies with very little prior experience.

The publics view is definitely more positive than its ever been, but we can always do our part to help educate others on the sport. Every sport has dangerous elements and we want to shine a light on the hard work that goes into practicing parkour correctly, and it’s not just about the danger.

It is people like the Team Reality team who are challenging the public’s perception of parkour by offering the local community new, exciting, and engaging ways to challenge the environment around them, promoting a sense of community, self-progression, and exercise.

To finish, I have linked Team Reality’s YouTube channel, where they upload weekly videos of their training, as well as highlight some of the students from their classes.

Monthly Update – September 2022

Every month, we will be putting together a monthly update on our website to keep you guys updated with everything that has gone on at Parkour UK.

A Full Team

In September, Simon Vardy settled into his role as Workforce Lead, taking over Kieran’s previous role.

Simon will be helping us accelerate the development of our Level One Coaching Qualification & our Level Two Coaching Qualification. Simon’s role will also look for new opportunities for the workforce. Simon is an experienced performance coach with a demonstrated history of working in the higher education industry and professional sports up to the elite level.

Our previous workforce lead, Kieran Wylde has moved positions at Parkour UK and will be working in our membership lead role, helping accelerate our memberships here at Parkour UK.

This finishes the employment of people from our employment day we ran back in June of this year, with a team now working in digital support, workforce, and membership

It’s really exciting and brilliant having a team now at Parkour UK. Chris Grant (PKUK’s head of development) is always ecstatic about logging onto the weekly all-hands meeting and seeing a team full of people working together.

Parkour UK Meets With The Board

In the closing weeks of September, the full team traveled to Brighton for the quarterly board meeting. We were able to report our progress in a way that we hadn’t before, with Lynn, Callun, Simon, and Kieran all presenting to the board in their area of expertise, following answering the questions the board had asked them.

We spent time discussing each of the areas that Parkour UK is currently focusing on, and spent some time together, before having some lovely food.

It was really great having the full team together, in one place, to discuss Parkour UK’s current path, projections, and areas of focus.

The Parkour UK Team – (left to right) Callun, Lynn, Kieran, Chris, Dan, Simon.

Below, we have summarized some of the topics of discussion, and steps going forward in different areas of the organization.

Membership: We spent a large chunk of the Tuesday discussing what our membership might look like, trying to categorize the community to look at what we might be able to offer in terms of knowledge and services across the whole of the community. This includes improving what we have already (such as coaching), but what we can also do to help support content creators, freelancers, athletes, etc. It was an exciting conversation that we are excited to get the ball rolling on. This is where Kieran, our Membership Lead, will be focusing his work in the next 6 months to a year.

Digital and Story Telling: Callun and Lynn reported to the board about our socials with really good statistics and measures. Our socials have received a tonne of engagement, interaction, and positive comments since the digital team came on board back in mid-July. On top of this, Lynn has also been working on a huge mapping document trying to capture the name, location, and purpose of different parkour teams, organizations, groups, and freelancers across the country within the parkour space.

Workforce: With the new school year starting, we are getting back into schools, and running Teacher CPD courses. We have also mapped all the dates for Level 2 courses through 2023, which will be announced once we are confident that the materials are going to be ready. Our plan is to announce the courses for the whole year to allow some flexibility to allow you to book. We will, eventually, work towards this for the Level One courses also.

Toolkits

Something that did pop up during our discussion was the toolkits we have on our website. We have a bunch of free toolkits available on our website, which you can find here. There is a range of toolkits, including “How to start a university society”, a “Business” toolkit, and “Risk Assessment” toolkits, all available to you, so please check them out.

Email Updates and Facebook Group For Members

We are currently working on building up our email newsletter for our member organizations and individuals again. This had some traction before, but earlier this year it dropped off a little bit. Now, with the digital team onboard, we have the capacity as an organization to fill these tasks to a standard we are happy with.

Storror’s Big Wall Open

Of course, we couldn’t do an update of September without mentioning Storror’s monumental street event, the “Big Wall Open.” – Callun visited the event, watching it all unfold.

The event was brilliant. It was amazing seeing how many people turned up. Not just parkour practitioners, but young children and their parents, many of who don’t train in parkour, they have just come down and appreciate the sport, speaking with the community, and getting to know more about the sport. Storror’s impact on the sport we love has been incredible, and I know this event has cemented itself as one of the sports’ best, but as a stepping stone to get so many other people into parkour.

Callun speaking about the Storror Big Wall Open

Community Posts

At the start of September, we started rolling out a weekly post of some movements from the parkour community. The feedback from these posts has been amazing, with the community loving the idea of us using our platform to show the progression and practice of those within our sport. Make sure you use the hashtag #ParkourUK so we can see your clips! Remember to also follow us on Instagram, @ParkourUK

Building networks & throwing yourself in at the deep end

Building networks & throwing yourself in at the deep end

As part of the benefits package that Parkour UK offer Development Associates, last week we invited Ian Braid and Preeti Shetti to share some of the things that they have learnt during their careers.

Preeti Shetty is CEO of Upshot, a monitoring, evaluation & learning system to help you evidence your impact. Preeti spoke about her career with a particular focus on insight and data, building networks and the importance of acknowledging failure.

Some of the insights were:

  • Learnt the importance of monitoring and evaluation through writing grant applications and producing annual reports.
  • Obsessed with the idea of failure, particularly the concepts of Black Box Thinking which considers how in the aviation industry the learnings drawn from the black box are shared with the whole of the sector so that everyone can learn.
  • During interviews many candidates underestimate the need to understand ‘this company, in this sector, at this time’.
  • Building networks is what it comes down to. A peer network that you can grow with, is the strongest thing. Building trust with a group of people who are going through similar things and who will encounter many of the same problems that you do.

 

Ian Braid is MD and founder of DOCIA Sport Ltd (Duty of Care in Action) who offer independent, expert advice on all aspects of duty of care in sport. Ian shared thoughts on personal development and possible approaches to help improve the duty of care in the sports sector.

Some of the insights were:

  • Two catch phrases have helped me realise what I should do when I grew up. Firstly that ‘everything is worth the price of a cup of coffee’, its an opportunity to listen to a perspective which may lead to an opportunity. Secondly, ‘throw yourself in at the deep end’ as the greatest learning always comes from those incidents.
  • Keep your head up, open your eyes, listen to others with a view to helping.
  • Build the confidence to challenge others over time. We are learning all the time and we shouldn’t be afraid to say what we think.
  • Linking it all together you need to understand who you are, what your values are and stick to them no matter what happens. Create a personal coat of arms and hold yourself to account every day.

 

Thanks to both for their time and effort. If you would like to contact Preeti or Ian you can do so through the following links:

Upshot – Contact Us

DOCIA Sport – Contact