Good Life

Balancing act

Push past your fears – and get a major adrenaline rush – on a flying trapeze

Want an instant mood lifter and confidence builder? Try sailing through the air on a trapeze. Not reserved just for those wanting to join the circus, trapeze schools are springing up throughout the U.S. With zero experience, participants can hop off a platform 30 feet into the air and safely learn how to leap, flip, get caught and do other tricks under the guidance of aerial-arts professionals, many of whom are former circus acrobats or longtime gymnasts.

“Some people come in here and their fear starts to take hold,” says Linda McReynolds, spokesperson for TSNY Chicago, which offers several classes and workshops for participants of all levels. “They say, ‘Why did I sign up for this?’ as they start climbing the ladder for their first try.
“But once they make the leap, they get this huge adrenaline jolt and are like, ‘Holy cow, I can do this!’ Not only is flying on a trapeze a great tool to help people push past their limits,” she says, but it also “is a wonderful way to practice overall health and wellness, including conditioning, timing, trust, and relaxation.”

During an initial two-hour class at the center, participants spend 15 minutes in “ground training,” where they learn about safety precautions, watch a demonstration, and practice holding the bar and preparing for takeoff. Then, they take four to five turns on the platform. Wearing a safety harness and with a net below, they practice a basic knee hang; once they’ve nailed that, they get an opportunity to have one of the school’s trained pros catch them.

“Most feel so exhilarated after their first class that they come back wanting more,” McReynolds says. “It’s a huge rush.” The center offers 10-session intensive workshops (starting at $500) that culminate in a show (circus costumes are included!) for family and friends.

The Benefits of Flying

Aerial activities like trapeze aren’t just a great way to have fun and learn new skills. They can improve your physical strength and your mood. Here are three ways your body can benefit:

Weight management: A typical trapeze class burns 300 to 400 calories per hour. Experts say frequent participation increases metabolic rate so that even more calories are burned.

Mental health: Aerial activities require deep breathing, which promotes relaxation and can help lift one’s mood. Trapezing also boosts self-esteem as participants build trust in themselves and learn new skills.

Flexibility: Aerial skills release tension in the muscles and joints. They also increase flexibility and range of motion.

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