As an avid runner and spinner, the mere thought of attempting an aerial fitness class was far from my comfort zone. Never did I expect to challenge my mind and body by taking my workout off of the floor. But there I was, suspended from the class floor trusting and working with the strength of my red fabric.
Stacey Niewenhuis created Ur Fit Journey in hopes of inspiring others through a spirit-mind-body fitness approach. Ur Fit Journey is the sole fitness studio in Sioux Falls offering aerial fitness.
Niewehuis credits multiple health benefits from incorporating aerial fitness into a workout regimen. For example, many of the positions require use of upper body strength and increased amounts of flexibility throughout the body. Suspension and inversions aid in the decompression of the spine and give the body optimum alignment, something specifically unique to aerial exercise. Not only does aerial fitness define lean muscle but, it also relieves stress.
All aerial classes begin with an introduction to aerial course. Upon completion participants are able to move into a four-week aerial class series. The introductory course teaches the basic aerial movements and patiently advances in positions until participants trust the fabric enough to move off of the ground.
Throughout the intro class, Niewenhuis demonstrates exercises through stationary, suspended and inverted positions. By the end of the hour and a half course, all of my classmates were comfortable trusting the fabric enough to maneuver into an inverted pose and a (successful) trick.
The duration of the class proved to be challenging. Thoughts such as ‘mind over matter’ and ‘trust the fabric’ ran through my head as our class would attempt a suspended or inverted pose. Physically, the fabric challenged my entire body and I found strength in muscles I never thought I had. Aerial fitness lengthens the legs and strengthens the upper body, core and oblique’s through incorporating both Pilates and yoga positions.
Trusting that the fabric will support body weight and various positions is most challenging for beginners, Niewenhuis said. Adapting to uncommon positions can also be a challenge. Aerial fitness is similar to dancing and gymnastics, only up in the air.
Group fitness largely impacts participants at larger gyms in the area. Some thrive when exercising around others, while some shy away from the experience. Ur Fit Journey focuses on incorporating group fitness to meet either view.
This offers an advantage that large gym memberships cannot guarantee. The maximum number of participants for aerial classes is six and for other classes, such as piloxing, a maximum of 16.
“It’s all about you when you walk in… We hope to bring a whole new outlook to how fitness can be personalized and be with a small group. To walk away with a lightened spirit and be something that you look forward to coming to – A place where you can come in and walk away feeling a whole lot better than before,” Niewenhuis said.
Aerial fitness can be the perfect complement to any fitness regimen. From professional trainers to those that live sedentary, incorporating an aerial aspect to working out focuses on moves that increase full body moves, flexibility and strength. Working with the fabric allows more movement for basic lifting moves like lunges and squats. Using the fabric as resistance allows for the core muscles to be engaged throughout the duration of class.
Niewenhuis says an open mind to new ideas about fitness is key.
“Aerial exercise can complement a runner or a biker – it can be a wonderful complement to any routine,” Niewenhuis said.
With bare feet and an open mind, Ur Fit Journey suggests preparing for class by wearing fitted/yoga clothing, bringing water to class and not eating two hours prior to class.
One class costs $12 or a 10-class punch card can be purchased. Registration and additional information can be found at www.urfitjourney.com. For more information call 605-929-0714.