Trapeze: Fitness and the fear of flying

Mon Oct 12, 2009 8:25am EDT
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By Dorene Internicola

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Daring young men and women, not always with the greatest of ease, are taking flying trapeze classes to give their fitness workouts a jolt.

Enthusiasts, who swing, jump, flip and fly through the air, say "flying" builds muscle strength, stamina, balance and coordination. Then there's the mind thing.

"There are three instructors running each class to help you conquer your fear of heights and challenge your idea of working out," said Sarah Callan, a spokeswoman for Trapeze School New York.

With locations in Los Angeles, Boston and Washington, D.C., as well as New York, the school offers beginning, intermediate and advanced classes in the flying trapeze all day, every day to thrill seekers, acrobats and even couch potatoes.

"Flying trapeze requires the mental ability to challenge yourself," Callan said. "In terms of physical ability, we require you to be able to hold your own weight when hanging with both hands on a bar."

So, you don't have to be fit enough for Cirque du Soleil. There's also a big net and Callan says you're always tethered.

"When on the flying trapeze, and even when climbing the ladder to the top, you are connected to safety lines," she explained.

But while swinging on the trapeze is a fun, core-strengthening way to add variety to a workout, Jessica Matthews, of the non-profit American Council on Exercise, stresses that it's not for everyone.   Continued...