New, fun way to get in shape: Parkour

High-flying workout at B.A.S.E. Fitness in Fishers
High-flying workout at B.A.S.E. Fitness in Fishers

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – If you’re bouncing off the walls to get started on Gr8 Health, you could try -actually- bouncing off the walls. And the floor. And more.

That’s what we found when we visited B.A.S.E. Fitness, a Parkour gym in Fishers.

“Just run, jump, climb.  Have a good time.  That’ s essentially what it is,” says Ayren Steuerwald.  Steuerwald is what you might call a Central Indiana-based guru of Parkour.

It’s worth noting that even the most ardent “Parkour” practitioners debate the definition of it.  For our purposes, it can be roughly described as the act of moving quickly over, under, or around whatever is in your way.

At B.A.S.E., Steuerwald has designed an indoor obstacle yard of wooden boxes of several shapes and sizes, half- and full-walls, metal rails, and padding.  Through Parkour, the participants navigate the obstacles with a mix of creativity and physical effort.

The “B.A.S.E.” in the gym’s name stands for Balance, Agility, Strength, and Endurance. One focus of the program is finding fitness through fun.

“Of course there’s some really hard work.  Usually I’m dripping wet!” says Michelle Hewitt.  She paused her Parkour drills to say it’s an outstanding workout where everyone feels welcome. “I asked the teacher, actually, ‘Is it okay for girls?’ He was like ‘Yeah!’”

Bob Myers of Fishers got a similar answer when asking about age.  His son tried Parkour first.

“He started doing it, and I said ‘I need some exercise, too!’” recalls Myers. “I’d been trying to do some workouts on my own, doing treadmill, going for walks, and it just wasn’t doing it.”

Steuerwald says is students range in age from six to 65.

The program has several very accomplished students.  They vault over boxes, scale walls, and navigate other obstacles with a startling combination of power, grace, and bounce.

Despite the precision of their well-practiced maneuvers, these ‘high-fliers’ say that when people do Parkour, they do not compete against anyone other than themselves.

“Being ‘good’ means comprehending your own movement,” explains Christian Woolums.  Although he’s only a teenager, he is so good at parkour that Steuerwald says Woolums helps train police officers.

“They’re a lot older than me,” says Woolums.  “It’s kind of intimidating, but we make friends.  When we’re out on the streets doing things, they recognize us.  They say ‘I know what this is!’ It’s pretty cool.”

Steuerwald is proud of his high-flying proteges, but one gets the sense that he’s even more pleased someone new takes on the challenge.

“You don’t need to flip, trick, and spin to be able to do Parkour,” he says. “If you’re not afraid to walk on the concrete and walk upstairs, you should be able to do Parkour.”

If you are interested in learning more about Parkour or would like to visit “B.A.S.E. Fitness”, the gym is located at 10080 E. 121st Street in Fishers.

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