High Flying Fitness Routine Becomes Quite A Workout

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If working out on machines in the gym or going for long runs is not for you, there's another form of exercise that can tone your muscles, and give you a lift.

What looks like standard exercise class quickly climbs to new heights.  Infinity Aerial is a fitness routine done on giant drapes called silks that hang from the ceiling.  Valerie Schrader watched as four students pushed their way up the silks toward the ceiling.

"Good climbs," she called.

Schrader fell in love with aerial fitness after watching Cirque du Soliel years ago.  "It's great.  It gives you that feeling of being a kid and flying and running away with the circus, but in a way that's tangible for most people," she said.

Class members also workout on hanging hoops and giant slings, called hammocks.

"It challenges your endurance, your flexibility, your stamina.  Everything." Schrader said.

Valerie teaches both men and women in co-ed classes, at all fitness levels.  She looked up at a man hanging upside down near the ceiling, who had struggled to wrap the silk around his body correctly to execute a move.  When he mastered it, she complimented, "Good, Kevin.  Good!'

VISIT: Infinity Aerial

She then called upon a class veteran to demonstrate another position.  "You guys are going to grab on firmly and swing your legs around and underneath, re-hooking your inside.  So the fabric needs to be across your hips."

Schrader said she's taught students between ages 18 and 72.

Donna Sewell of Delaware declared, "After 40, I found a GroupOn online, and I was looking for something fun that would be less impact on my now aching bones, and joints and it's been wonderful."

Valerie said it's not true that you have to be physically fit before you start.  She added that a surprising number of participants are afraid of heights.

Perched on a hanging hoop about five feet above the floor, student Storm Woods said that she is afraid of heights, but she tried aerial fitness anyway.

"There comes a moment when you realize that in order for you to do a new trick, or to have a new experience, to to do something you saw someone else do, you just have to push through that part,"  Woods said.

If they get snarled in the silks and can't untangle, students called for help by hollering "parachute", and laugh a lot. Schrader said this form of exercise provides both fitness and fun.  Woods agreed.

"I love the adventure, and I love the moment when I get a new trick more than anything else," she said.