I’ll never forget attending my first Cirque du Soleil show as a kid, gazing up in awe as the performers twisted, flipped, spun and danced through the air as if by magic. It wasn’t until I went to another show more recently that I realized it wasn’t magic that was causing the beautiful show before me — it was fitness.
It should come as no surprise that those who perform acrobatic acts whilst suspended hundreds of feet in the air are in incredible shape — imagine all the strength, flexibility and endurance that goes into something like that — but it may surprise you to realize you can experience a similar workout experience at a gym or studio. Known as aerial workouts, these exercises use silks, hammocks and swings to suspend your exercise in the air. If that makes you nervous, don’t fret: Here’s everything you need to know before you go. Classes like these aren’t only fun, they’re also an incredible full-body workout that is the perfect addition to any fitness regimen. Keep reading for some of the amazing benefits of trying an aerial workout.
1. Strengthens your upper body
Aerial exercise is a full-body workout, but it’s especially great for strengthening the core and upper body. You’re already exercising to begin with, but being off the ground and sometimes fighting the weight of gravity forces you to engage your core more — without you even realizing it. You’ll also be constantly utilizing your upper arms and shoulders to hold yourself up and go into inversions, which will quickly help you strengthen and tone.
2. Improves flexibility
Most classes are either aerial yoga, aerial barre or aerial acrobatics: all forms of exercise that stretch the muscles and lengthen the body. In fact, aerial exercise is a great workout if you spend the majority of your day sitting in a chair and need to relieve some tension.
3. Works your mind
Aerial workouts require a certain focus and attention that you don’t necessarily need in other workouts, making this one especially great for improving mindfulness and concentration. During class, you’ll be trying tons of new positions and moves that your body isn’t used to, which can be a great mental challenge as well as physical.
4. It’s zero-impact
A workout that’s easy on the joints: found. Aerial exercise is zero-impact, so whether you have sensitive knees or other troubled areas, you’ll likely find solace in this class. Just make sure to let your instructor know if you have any serious injuries, of course.
5. Prevents workout boredom
If you’re the type of person who gets easily bored by her workouts (which is one of the reasons we love hopping around to different workouts in the first place), aerial workouts may be the exercise to keep interested. Besides the fact that every class is a different experience, it may take some time to develop and grow your skills. Nothing is more motivating than witnessing your progress class after class; the better you get, the better the workout.