My daughter, Shayne, is always conspiring to get me out of my winter cocoon and out doing things. Farmer’s Market early Saturday morning? Pass. Brunch at a trendy new restaurant? No thanks. Hang from a 30 foot ceiling by a stretchy piece of silk? For some reason, this sounded good to me, so we signed up for Beginner Silks at a local aerial fitness studio.
The studio’s promotional video states that there is no need to be able to do a pull up to take beginner silks, and all fitness levels are welcome. As someone who is a fairly regular gym-goer, I thought I would be able to keep up at least enough not to embarrass myself. At the time I was 40, and as it turned out easily a decade older than anyone else in the three different classes they had running that day. More on that later.
Our instructor was fantastic. It is not a reflection on him that my feet refused to tie knots strong enough to stand on while holding my body weight in the air (by a piece of silk!). He was very patient and encouraging, and we were soon able to do some moves that looked impressive and became doable after step-by-step instruction.
I have to disagree that this is for all fitness levels: an hour-long silks class is not for everyone. It does require a fair amount of upper body, grip, and core strength. Out of our six-person class, one woman dropped the class after the first couple sessions out of frustration that she was not strong enough to climb the silks and hold herself up. As the ‘aged’ student, I found it really hard on my wrists and joints to grip the silks hard enough to hold my body weight and minimize impact while less-than-gracefully navigating between poses.
Then, there is the upside-down factor: though inversion therapy has long been touted as an alternative cure for back pain, sagging skin, etc. it can be very uncomfortable (and dangerous in extreme situations) due to the added pressure on your heart, lungs, and eyes (do not try this if you have glaucoma!). For me, I always had extreme nausea following more than two or three inversion moves. It didn’t seem to bother any of the 18 to 20-somethings (including my 21-year-old kid), though that was probably just a crazy coincidence.
Our final class assignment was to create, perform, and record a silks routine. Our ever-patient instructor filmed Shayne and I performing our self-choreographed sequence of moves (and misses) to the triumphant strains of ”The Final Countdown” while we laughed and sweated our way to glory. I have the video to prove it.
Altogether, Aerial Fitness is a lot of fun if you don’t take yourself too seriously. It is on the expensive side, and better suited for younger, agile bodies, so I did not continue after the six-session beginner classes.
But I did leave my house in winter, so my daughter considered it a win.
Lindsay Brommeland is a McCauley resident of 14 years who will try anything once.