Fun Fitness Review: Aerial Hoop

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Tuesday! Aerial Hoop Day! The obsession continues.

I am convinced the only way to stick to any form of exercise or healthy eating is to find your why (the reason you want to do a thing or achieve a goal more than all of the reasons you have for staying the same) and find your passion. Desire is such a powerful force. When you know exactly what you want and  find what you love to do you won't have to beat yourself into submission to reach your goals.

When your desires are strong enough, you will appear to possess superhuman powers to achieve. ― Napoleon Hill

The starting point of all achievement is DESIRE. Keep this constantly in mind. Weak desire brings weak results, just as a small fire makes a small amount of heat.” ― Napoleon Hill

I've tried gyms and failed because I wasn't engaged, I wasn't enjoying the process. On the other hand dance and aerial arts are two of my passions. They are a couple of only a few things that will get me outside on a cold winter night.

For those of you looking for fun ways to stay fit stay tuned for reviews of classes and activities. Hopefully it inspires you to try something new and find that thing that will get you going no matter what. Read on for an overview of an aerial hoop class.

Location: Body & Pole Duration: 1 hour and 15 minutes

Class Breakdown

Warm up: After introductions, hellos, and injury checks, class always begins with a 15-20 minute warm up. This varies from teacher to teacher but it almost always includes full body stretching, pilates based core strengthening moves,  and small dynamic movement to get the blood pumping and your muscles ready.

Conditioning: Next comes conditioning at the hoop. Again this can vary but shoulder shrugs, pull ups, chin ups, and V ups hanging by your hands under the hoop are the norm. You will definitely feel this in your traps, delts, biceps, triceps, and abs the next day.

In the hoop: Now for the real fun part! It's time to get in the air. I have always had a fear of heights. No kidding, I used to get dizzy walking on bleachers and cried when my cheer leading coach wanted me to be a flyer (the girl on the top of the stunt or pyramid.) But something happens when you find that thing you want more than all of your fears. The fear leaves. I am sure the crash mat below helps too.

First you learn and practice different mounts. There are so many ways to get in the hoop but all build immense upper body and core strength. Don't worry about being super strong or bendy; that comes with time. Once in the hoop most instructors have you try balancing in different positions. Sometimes it's a simple seated balance, other times you will learn to balance on your hips or you lower back.

Finally depending on the level of the class you will learn individual skills or sequences. The sequences may include forward rolls, hangs from body parts (parts you didn't even know you could hang from,) splits, sits, and different poses and balances.

Cool Down and photos/ videos: Shortly before class ends there is a quick cool down and stretch. Sometimes the instructor will also include more conditioning before the cool down depending on the flow of the class. There is also time allotted or time after class to snap a photo or shoot a video so you can remember the moves or share your experience with friends and family.

Benefits: Clearly this is an incredibly physical activity. This is a full body workout that includes elements of yoga, pilates, dance, and acrobatics. What I find most valuable though is the feeling you get when you know you have dared to do something that is not easy. No one and nothing can take away the sense of accomplishment that comes when you finally get a move or you surprise yourself with your progress. Another plus is the sense of community that is common to fitness and dance classes. I can't speak for other studios, but B&P student's are some of the nicest, most encouraging people you will ever meet.

Make sure to Google "aerial hoop" and your city's name to find a class near you. You won't regret it.