For This Teen, the Entire World Is a Playground

There are almost no limits to what the human body can do — and Lilou Ruel proves that every single day.

Lilou is a 16-year-old professional free runner from Toulouse, France. Free Running, also known as Parkour, is a type of sport that treats the environment around us as an endless playing ground. Free Runners run, jump and do tricks in the street, on the rooftop, and basically anywhere they can get to, using nothing but their own bodies.

Lilou’s first encountered freerunning in 2013 when she was just 9 years old. She’d always been attracted to athletics and used to jump on a trampoline in her parents’ backyard. Then one day she saw her neighbor practice parkour and was intrigued. Her neighbor taught her a couple of tricks and sent her to join a parkour club, where she could practice and learn other tricks.

As she got better, she wanted to record her progress and share it with her friends, so she started uploading videos of her runs on Instagram. Soon she attracted the attention of thousands of followers who were enchanted by her quick movement and incredible skill, and what started out as a hobby turned into a career.

Today, she shares her routines with over 50k followers, and works with huge brands to promote the art of freerunning — and show others that there’s hardly anything we can’t do with our bodies.