Come fly with me: Budding Cirque du Soleil enthusiasts strike a pose at Wimbledon’s newest fitness craze

The idea of being suspended midair in a compromising position was what caught my attention as I braved an aerial exercise class in Wimbledon.

There are many ways to get fit nowadays and I dare say that I have experienced most of them.

From getting swiftly kicked in the ribs in Taekwondo, to being intimated by many girls during a ‘pump’ class, there are decidedly better ways to get into shape.

Climbing strong silk ribbons and throwing yourself backwards in the hope that you don’t fall is one of the more enticing ones.

As demand for the aerial Flying Fantastic exercise class grows, four venues have opened across south west London since April 2011.

The aerial get fit concept was inspired by its popularity in Buenos Aires, where the Wimbledon husband and wife founders, Edel and Chris Wigan, lived for a year.

Mother-of-two Edel, 36, said: “We moved to Argentina in 2008 for one year so that my husband, Chris, could learn Spanish and for me to discover South America.

“While we were out in Argentina we took part in some circus classes and I dropped a dress size in just a few weeks.”

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After taking part in the exercise class on Thursday night and feeling the effects on Friday morning, it is not hard to believe that striking a pose can help you lose weight.

“It boosts your confidence and helps you let go of stress. As you get higher and higher you become more empowered,” Edel added.

“It greatly improves your balance and gets you to know your own body.”

The exercise is so incredibly popular in South America that in Buenos Aries city centre alone there are 55 schools dedicated to it.

Aerial is accessible to a wide range of ages from seven-year-olds to people in their sixties.

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Julie Yeung, 52, a flying fanatic for the past seven years, said: “I’m a dentist so I like aerial as it is far removed from my job. It is very physical and active, a really good stress relief.

“I suppose it keeps your mind of work because you’re worrying more about not falling to the floor.

“It is both an art form and exercise. It is the most physically demanding exercise I have ever done.”

I did feel artful as I spun, twisted and turned my way up a ribbon to look like a star.

Aerial does tend to attract more women than men but that shouldn’t put anyone off as it presents a physical challenge that ought to be experienced by men at least once in their lives.

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American Olympic track and field champion, Carl Lewis, 54, leads by example and swears by aerial in the USA to keep himself fit after being introduced to it by a 75-year-old friend.

Mr Lewis rose to fame by winning four gold medals at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angles before winning five more at the Seoul, Barcelona and Atlanta games.

If it is considered enough to keep a highly successful Olympic athlete fit then it should be the first port of call if you are looking for a new and fun way of getting into all kind of shapes.

Flying Fantastic holds multiple classes each week for a variety of different abilities at their venues in Wimbledon, Farrington, Battersea and Old Street.

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