For those looking to alter their workout routine with something out of the ordinary, aerial fitness programs may be just the thing. This type of exercise mixes stretching, Pilates-style core exercises, exciting aerial moves, balance training and posture work. Aerial fitness programs are an excellent addition to cardio and weight-based workouts and help create new mind-body connections, establishing a wider overall physical response to exercise routines. Aerial fitness exercises focus on three areas: general conditioning, ease of movement and joint mobility and rotation, thereby strengthening core muscles, increasing flexibility and improving postural position.
Aerial fitness uses a suspended hammock that's like a long scarf to support body weight while the moves are performed. There's no risk of ripping the hammock, because it's designed to support up to 2,000 pounds. Advantages linked to gravity provide for controlled traction effects, muscle stretching, lengthening, contraction outcomes, and alignment of joints. This fun workout combines a variety of body positions with different methods of using the hammock to wrap the body and support weight during position changes. Workouts progress through different levels. Beginning levels involve transitions on the floor which move into a low hammock, focusing on increased grounding, longer held stretches, core work, toning and improved balance. When ready, individuals can try a high hammock involving moves and transitions accomplished in the air. The soft support of the hammock makes aerial skills possible for all levels of ability, and the exercises take into account different body and personality types.
One of the most effective forms of aerial fitness is aerial yoga. Some have described this exercise as being like regular yoga times 10, not because of difficulty but because of how fulfilling and relaxing it is. Aerial yoga involves sitting on the hammock and performing traditional yoga poses while supported, or aerial adaptations of poses that begin with slight alterations. Those familiar with regular yoga often experience these classes as natural progressions from traditional yoga to more advanced aerial moves.
Aerial yoga is a safe alternative to traditional yoga and other types of exercise when taught by a certified instructor. Anyone considering taking aerial yoga or other types of aerial fitness programs should inquire about the instructor's qualifications before taking a class. With suspensions only around three feet off the ground at the most, there is limited risk of injury from falling. The height of the hammock can also be adjusted so moves can be accomplished while still supporting the body with one or both feet on the ground, or while only minimally off the floor until confidence builds. Hammock heights can be altered based on personal preference to individualize the classes to meet every member's needs and to enhance the ability to maneuver based on each person's own flexibility and fitness level. Much like traditional yoga, aerial yoga moves can be adapted to fit everyone's comfort level. Many aerial yoga poses and positions are accomplished while still using the floor to stand on, and the slower movements, stretches and longer holds often feel less intimidating to new aerial fitness participants. Qualified instructors will help beginners learn how to use the hammock to properly transition from one pose to another until the moves feel natural and can be accomplished smoothly.
The benefits of aerial yoga include many of those found in traditional yoga with added benefits as well. Aerial yoga provides the opportunity for greater flexibility through the ability to move the body into extended and brand new positions, resulting in deeper stretches compared to regular yoga. The effects of gravity on the body help build strength because muscles are required to work harder and in new ways to adapt to increased body weight. Aerial suspension also takes advantage of gravity to achieve better postural alignment. Aerial yoga is particularly effective in strengthening core muscles, as participants work to stabilize balance during workouts. The reduction of weight-bearing exercises results in spinal decompression, providing relief for back, knee and joint pain. Increased lymphatic movement can result in better overall health.
Participants in aerial yoga also enjoy several mental benefits as well. Breathing exercises and breath control techniques common to the practice of yoga are also used in aerial yoga to relieve stress and induce a state of relaxation. The new challenges encountered in this form of exercise increase mental awareness and focus, because participants need to concentrate harder due to the novelty of being suspended. The challenges provided by aerial yoga enhance creativity and allow for artistic development. Like most types of exercise, aerial yoga stimulates the release of hormones to boost mood and decrease depression. The benefits of aerial exercise last far beyond the duration of the class, providing for improved physical health, increased energy, enhanced mood and greater mental capacity. The overall feeling of well-being achieved through aerial exercise can be a valuable addition to anyone's life.