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Rediscovering Columbus: Walls

Parkour offers new ways of achieving your fitness goals. There’s one thing I think of when I think of parkour—that episode of The Office where Michael, Dwight, and Andy get into what they think of an action sport a YouTube video calls “hardcore parkour.” Andy decides he’s going to take a huge leap from the [...]
Mitch Hooper

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Parkour offers new ways of achieving your fitness goals.

There’s one thing I think of when I think of parkour—that episode of The Office where Michael, Dwight, and Andy get into what they think of an action sport a YouTube video calls “hardcore parkour.” Andy decides he’s going to take a huge leap from the top of a moving truck onto an empty cardboard box only for him to learn the hard way that he wasn’t quite ready for the advance level stuff yet—and that empty cardboard boxes aren’t the best landing spots.

For the coaches at Parkour Horizon here in Columbus, their beginnings in the sport weren’t that much different than those in fictional Scranton. No, they weren’t in a random parking lot leaping from a moving truck while loudly exclaiming “HARDCORE PARKOUR!”, but at one point they were new faces to the game trying to learn new tricks and flips without any assistance from tutorial videos or classes. It was just some straight up trial-and-error—where your error could lead to smashing your face into the ground below.

“I didn’t really go to gymnastics facilities; I kind of learned all of my tricks in the sand on the beach,” said California-native Christian Whitworth, a coach and instructor for Parkour Horizons. “I didn’t really have a whole lot of tutorials or things like that. A lot of the times it was seeing something done and figuring out how to do it and working on it with friends.”

The same can be said for Richard Skowronski, a coach and lead instructor at Parkour Horizons. He didn’t have the avenues of YouTube to spark an interest at a young age in climbing and exploring his environment—he’s been interested in doing just that ever since he was a child.

But, eventually he found his way to YouTube in about 2004 through a friend and discovered the sport that would change how he went about his life.

“[My friend] found a parkour video and was like, ‘Hey, I think this is what you do and I think you might like this,’” Skowronski recalled. “I was going to school for photography at the time and as soon as I watched that video, it had such a profound effect on me. I just realized, ‘This is what I want my life to be about.’”

Since then, Skowronski as well as Whitworth have been working as coaches, instructors, and general parkour gurus across the country ranging from Hawaii to right here in Columbus.

While many people would think parkour is only aerial acts and eye-catching flips and tricks that make you wonder how the hell a human can float in the air for so long, Skowronski and Whitworth are trying to eliminate this stigma at Parkour Horizons. Classes are set up with a specific theme each week—vaulting, climbing, jumping—where newcomers have the chance to work with Richard for more fundamental concepts while Christian takes the higher level athletes and puts them to the test for completing more advanced tricks. No one is forced to do something they aren’t comfortable with, and once you build the confidence, they will be more than willing to help you through it all.

For them, parkour is so much more than just those popular videos you catch online—it’s learning how your body wants to interact with the environment around it then conditioning it to be more efficient.

“Our motto is to empower people through movement so we want people to be able to have exposure to these movements,” Skowronski said. “I realized, yes we are a facility, but parkour isn’t meant to be done just in a gym. It’s meant to be done outside in whatever environment you are exposed to. It’s about having that basic approach of movement in a “safe and controlled” [environment]—I say safe and controlled in quotations because at any point in life, risk and danger is there—and I think the way we have exposed people to parkour is a very safe, progressive, and mindful approach that anyone basically can do it.”

And those videos online of the highest level parkour athletes are semi-misleading, too. From a viewer’s perspective, all you see are the highlights and successful jumps. But, the behind the scenes tells a completely different story.

“Those people don’t do those tricks just once, and they don’t do those jumps just once,” Whitworth explained. “They do them over, and over, and over to make sure they get it right because that’s the only way to grow. You don’t just do a jump one time. You do it many times until you feel you’ve conquered it then you move on to the next challenge.”

With all that repetition comes a physical and mental demanding workload. Not only are you pushing your body to its physical limits, things like a fear of heights or the fear of pain can create mental stress as well. This is where training plays a pivotal role in the entire process. Instead of traditional training like lifting weights, Skowronski combined movement with lifting to create something similar to a gauntlet: one moment he’ll be muscles then suddenly, he’s hitting squats, followed by more rigorous training to prepare his body for the most extreme situations.

“[We also] incorporate things like yoga and all these other movements because in order for us to last, we need to focus on the recovery; allowing our body to be pliable and ready for those things,” he explained. “If we are super tight, we are going to get injured.”

But, don’t worry. He recognizes that not everyone getting into parkour wants to go to the same extremes as he did. For those people, he suggests focusing more on the technical features of the trick, like contouring your body the proper way when you’re doing a wall flip. It doesn’t require too much strength, he said, but it does require proper body conditioning and knowing how to use momentum efficiently.

As for the side eye glances and upset security guards who just don’t understand what these guys are doing in public when they go out for a day of parkour, Skowronski just wishes they would try to be more understanding.

“I’m not trying to scare anybody. I’m not trying to destroy the property. I’m not trying to injure myself or others—I’m just trying to create a greater awareness to what I’m physically capable of doing and mentally capable of enduring at the same time.”

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Health & Fitness

Medical marijuana arrives in Columbus next week

Mike Thomas

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Got your card? Terrasana – central Ohio’s first dispensary for medical marijuana – will open to patients in Ohio’s medical marijuana program this Tuesday, March 26th.

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The dispensary which also has plans for locations in Cleveland, Fremont, and Springfield Ohio will open at 656 Grandview Avenue.

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According to the company’s website, Terrasana’s goal is to connect high quality cannabis to patients in need with a doctor-driven approach focused on education.

Prices for the dispensary’s products start at 40 dollars per unit, though it’s unclear what that equates to in quantity or dose at this time.

Will you line up to be a day-one patient in Columbus’ growing MMJ scene? Let us know your thoughts in the comments

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Health & Fitness

Float, flow, stretch, and breathe toward a healthier you

614now

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Being the best possible you is about more than just eating healthy and working out. It’s about mind, body, and spiritual fitness as well. Fortunately the city is home to a bevy of experts, practitioners, and spas to help you find your bliss and be the best possible you.

1. Tune Everything Out

Floatation therapy uses a pool of approximately 10 inches of heavily infused epsom salt water as a form of pseudo sensory deprivation to help you achieve complete peacefulness. The idea is to use floating to achieve the same state of mind as right before you fall asleep at night where your mind is at ease and your body has fully relaxed. You’re encouraged to focus on your breathing and meditate. For a fully immersive experience, float tanks can be encapsulated. Drifting away in an hour-long session, users have reported feeling calmer, getting a better night’s sleep, and feeling more in tune with their mind and body.

Check out: Ebb & Float, ebbfloat.com  |  True Rest Float Spa, truerest.com

2. Manage Pain

Acupuncture is a form of Chinese medicine in which sterile needles are placed on “meridians,” or lines of energy running along the body which correspond to organ systems. Acupuncture is used to treat a variety of conditions and provide pain relief, possibly by competing with pain signals to the brain. Cupping can be used as a complementary therapy to acupuncture and offers some effects of deep tissue massages by placing glass cups (often on the back) to create suction and increase blood flow, augmenting other benefits of acupressure practices. 

Check out: Urban Acupuncture Center, urbanacupuncturecenter.org |12 Meridians Acupuncture, 12meridiansacupuncture.com

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3. Release Tension, Stretch, and Increase Flexibility

Thai yoga, also referred to as Thai body work, is not your traditional take on massages. Instead of lying still while a massage therapist works on your body, Thai yoga has specialists that move, stretch, and position your body in a multitude of positions to best help your troubled areas, which could be great for people who struggle with lower back pain or stress-caused conditions. The theory behind Thai yoga goes back to Ayurveda medicine, developed in India, where the practice was based on a balance of mind, body, and spirit through energies in the body. Thai yoga hopes to channel these energies through massage, compression, and stretching and allow them to flow more freely. The practice features various techniques dependent on how your body is feeling that day; this could mean the use of oils, or the use of voice with mantras. Beyond a more well-stretched and massaged feeling afterwards, many users said they feel rejuvenated mentally and spiritually. 

Check out: Jai Center For Wellness, jaicenterforwellness.com |Reden Yoga, redenyoga.com

4. Breathe Better

Halotherapy is the therapeutic use of a room lined from ceiling to floor in large crystal salt to simulate the cool but dry atmosphere of a natural salt cave. A device (appropriately named the halogenerator) smashes salt into microscopic pieces, allowing them to be released in the air through ventilation systems.

In 45-minute sessions, users can relax and breathe in the salty air, which has been claimed to potentially alleviate breathing issues such as asthma or allergies. Additionally, the calm, quiet, and dark rooms are perfect for a moment of mediation. The salt has been also said to help with skin bacteria and impurities, similar to popular mud masks made with minerals from the Dead Sea.

Check out: Tranquility Salt Cave, tranquilitysaltcave.com |Philosophi Salon and Salt Spa, philosophisalon.com

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Health & Fitness

Refresh Resolution: 14 cheap, free ways to fulfill your health goals

Kelsey Lawrence

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Getting in shape is one of the most popular New Year’s resolutions. Plus, after all that holiday binging, your body is begging for some tlc.

Getting in shape can be expensive but it doesn’t have to be! Below is a list of 14 ways to have a healthy New Year.

Planet Fitness

Multiple locations

$1 down, $10 a month, no commitment, now through January 15.
As a member, you’ll have access to a full workout facility 24/7, over 50 group training sessions per week, and Free Pizza Mondays (because you can’t be good all the time).

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Crushing it Columbus

333 W Broad St., Columbus

No fancy equipment, no professional facility, just a good old-fashioned workout. Crushing it Columbus meets every Wednesday at 6:15am on the stairs of COSI to sweat it out.
Everyone is welcomed, no matter the experience level.

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Queer Yoga

535 E Whittier St., Columbus

Looking to get fit in a safe(r) space? Queer Yoga offers $6 yoga classes every Tuesday. Yoga mats are encouraged and all are welcome.

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Winter Hike

Multiple locations

Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks are offering several winter hiking events throughout the season. Three Creeks, Scioto Audubon, and Prairie Oaks are just a few of the participating parks. Some of them are pet friendly too!

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Lululemon

Multiple locations

Work off that Sunday brunch with free yoga at Lululemon’s Easton and Polaris locations. All experience levels welcome!

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Cap City Salsa

566 W Rich St., Columbus

Dance those pounds away with a four week salsa course hosted by Cap City Salsa. For $12 per session, you’ll learn some salsa basics for beginners!

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Get Connected

3535 Olentangy River Rd, Columbus

Supplement your workout with healthy thought processes. Ohio Health is offering a free six week course focusing on the topics of chronic illness, healthy eating and mental wellness.

This women’s health class runs Jan 28- Mar 4th and registration is required.

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The Fitness Loft

625 Parsons Ave., Columbus

The fitness loft offers a variety of classes from cycling to zumba to boxing. They’re currently offering a Groupon special, plus one-year memberships for 20 percent off and six-month memberships for 10 percent off for new and current members.

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Kinetic Climbing & Fitness

717 Hadley Dr., Columbus

Switch up your workout and have an adventure at Kinetic. Grab a climbing buddy or collect a whole group to save big on Groupon.

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Ice Skating

Multiple locations

Break a cool sweat at one of Columbus’ ice rinks. Head to one of Ohio Health’s Chiller Ice Rinks, where public skating is available throughout the week for under $10. They also offer Friday Night Meltdown, a public skating event with a DJ.

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Nutrition 101

3969 Trueman Blvd., Hilliard

They say that abs are made in the kitchen, so learn how to properly fuel your body with Dr Kevin Sarich and Ali Cooper as they lead free health classes on how to lose weight with healthy eating. Reservations required.

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Babes HIIT

Multiple locations

Babes HIIT Columbus offers several cheap and free monthly fitness events at numerous locations in the area. They offer free winter hikes, champagne and yoga, Fitt camp and so much more.

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Yoga On High

1020 Dennison Ave. Suite 202, Columbus

Yoga on high offers free (donation based) ABC inclusive yoga classes every Saturday from 2-3pm. Each week features a different teacher and style of yoga so you’ll never get bored! Registration is required and accessible through their website.

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Crossfit Clintonville

609 Oakland Park Ave., Columbus

Interested in Crossfit? This Clintonville gym offers free community classes every Saturday at 10am. This three class trials gives you the opportunity to dip your toes into the pool of crossfit. No registration is necessary, just show up!

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