Aerial fitness takes flight in Nelson Mandela Bay

Fun new exercise trend sees eager participants hanging in there

Aerial Fit is practised in a silk hammock suspended from the ceiling
HANGING OUT: Aerial Fit is practised in a silk hammock suspended from the ceiling 
Image: Josh Mudrovcic

Hang tight, fitness fans, there is a new fitness trend in Gqeberha.

Aerial fitness, which is taking the world by storm,  is a type of airborne fitness that is practised in a silk hammock suspended from the ceiling.  

It fuses stretching-style exercises with Pilates-based core moves for a  fun aerial workout.

The founder of Boost, a popular women’s personal training studio in Walmer, Caileigh Goddard, introduced the exercise to her clients about two months ago and has had a phenomenal response.

“My clients love it. There isn’t anyone else offering Aerial like we do in Gqeberha and we had about 20 women who signed up in the first month of offering it,” she said.

Goddard, 30, is a qualified aerial fitness instructor.

Anyone can do Aerial Fit guided by their own comfort level
THE UPSIDE-DOWN: Anyone can do Aerial Fit guided by their own comfort level
Image: Josh Mudrovcic

“Aerial Fit lengthens, strengthens and decompresses your spine.

“It strengthens your core, lower body and upper body while having fun, stretching and releasing tension in your body.” 

And the best part? Anyone can do it.

“There are different levels at which we work, so staying within your limits makes it suitable for absolutely anyone,” Goddard said.

While aerial fitness is taking off in the Bay, another trend that seems here to stay is weight training.

“Weight training for women is definitely trending, as I’ve noticed that more women want to become strong and toned.

“Fewer women are afraid of the stereotype that weight training is going to make you ‘big’," she said.

Goddard is passionate about being part of a women’s fitness journey, hence she created a safe place for women to feel body confident and strong.

“I wanted to create a completely non-judgmental space for women to fall in love with movement.

“I wanted them to see what their bodies can do regardless of their shape, size or age.”

The busy mother of two has been involved in the fitness industry for years and so she does not  just bark orders at her clients — she gets involved and definitely looks the part of a strong and fit young woman.

“I have always been an athletic girl who loves sport, physical activity and the outdoors.

Aerial Fit has been taking the world by storm and now Gqeberha fitness fans are also getting in on the benefits
LIFT-OFF: Aerial Fit has been taking the world by storm and now Gqeberha fitness fans are also getting in on the benefits
Image: Josh Mudrovcic

“I have competed in numerous bikini fitness competitions, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu competitions nationally and internationally, and obstacle races over the last 10 years.

“Learning to love my body for what it is able to do, rather than for what it looks like, was an important part of my self-worth journey over the years,” Goddard said.

“I started my business by offering a lifestyle workshop called Boost Your Body, a six-week programme to guide others onto a path of a healthier, more balanced lifestyle physically, emotionally and mentally.

“This was well-received by the public and really kick-started my business in the fitness industry.

“Boost moved into its own premises in January 2018, and became the official home of women’s training in boxing cardio fitness (Boxfit), weight training (Lady Lifters) and aerial yoga (Aerial Fit)." 

During the pandemic, Goddard said, it was more important than ever to keep fit and healthy.

“Looking after your health before you lose it is the key to a long and healthy life.

“Keeping your body fit and strong is as important emotionally as it is physically, especially during this pandemic,” she said.

“Decide to start with a realistic goal of at least two days of 30 minutes of physical activity, even just walking,  and once you get a consistent routine going, you will want to increase your training routine and style because of the feel-good hormones you will experience after exercise.

“It is definitely easier and far more fun to start something with a friend or others keeping you accountable for sticking to your exercise schedule.

“Having a trainer also makes it easier with given instructions so you don’t have to figure it out all on your own.”

MY EXPERIENCE WITH AERIAL FITNESS:

Spinning, Zumba, Pilates, yoga. Just when I think I have done it all, a new fitness trend rears its head.

I tried aerial fitness with Caileigh at Boost Private Training Studio in Walmer and I am hooked.

Doing exercise moves while you are suspended in the air did not appeal to me until I tried it.

The class I joined was small and Caileigh gave us all her undivided attention.

She is a brilliant trainer and will walk you through an exercise before you try it.

I felt 100% safe and confident with her by my side.

First, I had to get into the silk hammock. That is no easy feat.

There is a special technique using your fingers to get into the hammock.

Once we were snug in our hammocks (almost like a cocoon), we did some relaxation exercises and warmed up our bodies to prepare for the exercises.

It is almost like Pilates or yoga in the air.

The exercises and stretches are slow movements, but you feel the burn and the ropes help you push your body a bit harder.

You use your body weight and a lot of core muscles during the class.

It is quite something doing these poses in the air and hanging upside down.

I felt so proud of myself after I did some moves I thought I would never be able to do.

Our bodies are amazing!

This class is a must, especially if you want to work on your flexibility and core.

If you are interested in trying aerial fitness, contact Caileigh on 082 643 6742

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