Northeast Wisconsin
  • Northeast Wisconsin
  • January 2016
Written by 

Unexpected benefits of practicing aerial arts

There are many reasons why people work out. The benefits of physical activity have been well documented, and I will not belabor you with statistics as to why everyone should be physically active in some way, shape or form. Working out and getting active shouldn’t be a chore, it should be something you enjoy doing. When you find the correct workout for yourself, it should be fun, and something you look forward to because of the many benefits it offers to you. As an aerialist there are many benefits other than physical fitness that I’ve discovered since taking up the sport. Here are three unexpected benefits that I’ve noticed.

Increased body awareness. In order to be successful at any aerial apparatus, the user must know what all parts of their body are doing, much like yoga or dance. A large part of aerial is maintaining one’s balance. For example, if you are trying to do an arabesque in the hammock, if your foot is not in proper alignment with the rest of the body, you may tip over or need to step out of the hammock. Being kinesthetically aware of oneself is a huge skill that is honed while practicing any aerial apparatus.

Increased self-esteem and body image. In today’s society, it’s unfortunate how much “thin is in.” With everyone striving for the perfect figure, many people lose sight of how great they are with what they have. As a woman in today’s society I’d be lying if I said I didn’t ever have issues with my body. I wish that I’d had aerial classes available to me when I was in my teenage years because of the positive effects I’ve seen in myself. Working on poses and tricks, or even new ways of conditioning, gives me a feeling of accomplishment. It is hard, but the feeling you get when you can do eight hammock burpees now, when last class you could only do five, that feeling is amazing. The victories don’t even have to be your own. Seeing the person next to you accomplish something new is contagious. The positive atmosphere created in aerial classes by the interaction between students and instructors, and between students and other students is truly unique. It fosters acceptance for who you are and where you are at, while at the same time encouraging personal growth by allowing you to set attainable goals for yourself.

Positive relationships. I’ve traveled to a few different places now to train at studios other than the one that I attend on a regular basis, and no matter where I’ve been I have always been welcomed with open arms. Each studio environment is always unique, but there are certain aspects that do not change. First, students and instructors are always welcoming to new or visiting students. Every time I step into a new studio there is an excitement at seeing fresh faces, and a willingness to share information and techniques. Second, there is never any judgement passed from instructors to students, or students to other students. Everyone has a general understanding that each person is working at their own pace and for only his or herself. Finally, encouragement is everywhere. There are always enthusiastic cheers whenever a new move is accomplished or a goal is reached. It doesn’t matter if you know the person or if you just met five minutes ago. As I mentioned earlier, the excitement is contagious. Meeting other people who share the same interest in aerial fitness is an easy conversation starter. I’ve met so many great people from across the country because of my aerial training; I am glad that I was willing to go for that first spin.

These are only three of the hidden benefits of practicing the aerial arts. There are so many benefits that go along with the obvious physical benefits that should be considered when trying to find your own personal workout preferences. Whatever your preferences may be, make sure to think about the “added bonuses” to whatever you choose to do.

Kim Simon

Kim Simon is a former student and current instructor at Aerial Dance Pole Exercise in Appleton. Kim holds multiple Aerial Dance certifications, is a certified Aerial Yoga Instructor, recently attended the Circus Arts Institute for additional training and has a Group Fitness Certification through AAFA. When not on an aerial apparatus she is a teacher at a local school. For more information, call 920-750-1441 or go to the website www.poleappleton.com.

Website: www.poleappleton.com
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