1. No skills (or shoes!or yoga mat!) required
Let the ACE study test subjects serve as examples: Sixteen randomly selected women, ages 18 to 45, proved you can go into aerial workouts pretty much cold and still get the hang of things. Most aerial yoga studios have classes for first-timers, and AIR offers a “foundation” class for those just starting out.
2. It’s one of the best ab workouts around
“A benefit of taking your routine off the ground is that you lose your point of stability; you’ll start to engage your core immediately without even realizing it,” says Lindsey Duggan, the owner of AIR Aerial Fitness–Los Angeles.
“It honestly has been the most effective ab workout I’ve seen in a while.” Indeed, not only did the women in the ACE study trim an inch, but there is also this anecdotal evidence from Dalleck: Almost all of them commented on feeling as if their core strength improved dramatically over six weeks.
3. You’ll flip for the thrill of it
Imagine how much fun it is getting to play acrobat for an hour. Suddenly you’re doing gymnastic tricks that you might not normally try without an assist from the suspension silk. “The fun factor is what gets our clients to stick with the classes,” Duggan says. And you don’t need research to tell you that if you enjoy your workout, you’ll probably do it more often.
4. Mat poses become easier to master
Been working on your headstand or forearm stand in yoga? Forget kicking up against a wall and consider this: “The silk wraps around your body and supports you in certain difficult poses like inversions, giving you the experience of how a pose should feel,” Duggan says. In other words, taking a few aerial classes might raise your game in your regular yoga classes as well.
5. It counts as cardio too
The ACE researchers figured there would be full-body firming. “Study participants increased muscle mass and decreased fat mass all over, so it’s likely that aerial yoga provides strength-building benefits,” Dalleck says. (Expect to see definition in your shoulders and arms especially, Duggan says.) But the scientists were surprised at just how cardio intensive this form of yoga can be. “At the outset of the study, we didn’t necessarily anticipate that the physiological responses to aerial yoga would align with those of other, more traditional forms of cardio exercises, like cycling and swimming,” Dalleck says. They found that the calorie burn-320 calories in one 50-minute aerial yoga session-is in fact comparable to that of power walking.
6. It’s zero-impact
Whether or not you have knee problems, adding some low- or no-impact workouts is great for you ,and aerial classes are exactly that easy on the joints, Dalleck says.
7. You’ll walk away feeling Zen
Research shows that mind-body activities can reduce stress, and aerial yoga is no exception. Many classes end with you lying in savasana, cocooned in a hammock as you gently swing from side to side. Talk about blissing out!