It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s Aerial Fitness!
The phrase “aerial fitness” brings to mind circus acrobats swinging from trapeze to trapeze or the singer Pink performing at an awards show. But it’s actually a fun and challenging alternative to the same old gym classes and is on its way to becoming one of the hottest exercise trends in Michigan.
So what is it? The first thing you’ll notice is long drapes hanging from the ceiling. They are called silks—sometimes also called aerial ribbon, rope or fabric—and are used throughout the entire workout. You’ll find yourself twisting, climbing, spinning and dropping from them, working muscles you didn’t even know you had while also improving balance and agility. Here are a few of the specific benefits you’ll get from trying aerial fitness:
- It focuses on upper body and core strength. Here’s an example of a move you do in aerial fitness: While gripping the silks, lift your body off the ground and slowly raise your legs over your head. Those kinds of movements, plus the fact that you need to keep your body positioned properly and moving smoothly the whole time, explains why this is such a good workout for your shoulders, arms, chest and core.
- It’s easy on the joints. Much like swimming, aerial fitness is a no-impact activity that lets you move your body in completely unique ways without creating pressure on your joints.
- It increases body awareness. When you just stand normally, it’s easy to forget about body alignment. But if you’re hanging upside down, you are forced to pay attention to how you’re holding your body—otherwise you’ll fall! You also have another dynamic to stay conscious of—the fabric. It may be difficult to figure out how to wrap your wrists feet and waste in the beginning, but just like any new sport, practice makes perfect.
- It improves flexibility. By combining characteristics from other exercises like yoga and dance, aerial fitness will stretch your body in ways you couldn’t do without the help of the silks. After the workout you’ll feel looser and stand taller.
- And oh yeah, it’s fun! Doing aerial fitness is like working out without actually feeling like you’re exercising. While you may be a little nervous at first, by the end of your first class you’ll feel full of energy and have a self-esteem boost that comes from conquering the unknown.
If you’re still not sure about it, check out this video shot at Pulse Fitness in Royal Oak:
Here’s a run-down on other studios and gyms in Michigan where you can being your journey into the aerial fitness world:
- A2 Aviary in Ann Arbor
- Ringstar Studio in Ann Arbor
- Pole Addiction & Aerial Dragonfly in Ferndale
- Agora Arts in Ferndale
- Aerial 4 Me in Grand Rapids
- Detroit Flyhouse in Detroit
- Element 22 in Midland
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Photo credit: Bianca Ramirez