Sarah Maxwell explores circus skills for every BODY

Before you skip this page, I’d like to reassure you that aerial fitness is much more fun and accessible to everyone than you would think!  

Hammocks, silks, hoops, trapeze and pole are some of the exciting things available to you on the circus skills menu. Additional courses also look very interesting (I fancy trying out the fire spinning). Rest assured, you won’t be expected to be suspended high off the ground – unless that’s something you’re particularly aiming for. 

Aerial fitness has something for everyone, it’s open to people of all ages, abilities and gender – and don’t think it’s just for the slim, fit and young. It’s a fact that it’s especially brilliant for older generations and people with disabilities and limitations. 

The focus is on you and what your body is able to achieve at a pace and level suited to you. In addition to the promise of a strong, fit body for those participating regularly, it has enormous benefits for your mental health too.  

I recently had the pleasure of talking to aerial/circus skills coach, Elly Batten and finally learning the real story behind the urban myth of ‘the teacher who ran away to join the circus’. 

Elly was the head of the psychology department at a local grammar school until she got bitten by the the circus bug. She explains, “By the age of 37 I had had numerous knee operations, was a size 18 and decidedly unfit. I couldn’t sit down crossed legged or touch my toes, let alone contemplate doing anything circus oriented, but I kept going back! 

“It has been a great experience and such a supportive and friendly community, which is great for beginners and anyone who finds the usual fitness environment too much. I have also made some great friends during the process.” 

Fast forward 3 years and Elly is now a fully qualified aerial/circus coach, size 10, brimming full of confidence with an infectious joie de vivre.  

Diversity and inclusion are at the forefront of everything Elly and her fellow coaches do. They are able to adapt movements to whatever your age ability and needs. 

Working and learning from some outstanding occupational therapists during my years as a coach, the parallels are clear as to how this type of training can benefit all ages and abilities in a safe, supportive and nurturing way.  

Suspending the body decreases the pressure on joints and alleviates spinal compression, allowing movement that would otherwise be impossible in a regular exercise class. In addition, the psychological impact when someone achieves a movement they thought impossible is a wonder to behold!  

Simia Circus offers aerial and ground-based circus tuition for all ages and abilities. It’s a guarantee that whatever your age, disability, weight or fitness level, you will be nurtured and supported by a highly professional team of instructors who are able to work with you at a pace and level that suits you.  

Physical & psychological benefits: 

Increases flexibility and strength  

Relieves joint pressure and spinal compression (enabling free movement is a safe and controlled way)  

Releases tension and stress  

Increases balance and proprioception (body awareness)  

Greatly improves core strength.  

Enables you to get into positions that would be impossible on the floor  

Improves back strength and flexibility  

Increases bone density (essential to combat osteoporosis)  

Improves breath awareness (this regulates your nervous system and is a key skill used in yoga and meditation)  

Builds confidence and self esteem  

Allows you to try new things and maintain your interest (boredom won’t ever hit doing this)  

More info: 

Sarah Maxwell is a multi award-winning weight loss, lifestyle and fitness coach. Find out more about her work…

Twitter: @sarahmax100

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