A common theme among members of the First Coast community is the desire to better themselves, both physically and mentally. For many, traditional forms of fitness fail to keep them inspired, often preventing them from results they want to achieve. Staying motivated can be challenging, and finding what encourages you is an important part of keeping up with any fitness program.
Alternative fitness covers a variety of different methods, as many people realize that a disinteresting workout routine is an unnecessary burden toward getting in shape.For Sam Jubran and his son, Jonathan, staying fit is often a result of simply enjoying the great outdoors. On weekends, they can be found biking through the trails at one of Jacksonville’s local parks. “It’s very peaceful out here. It’s relaxing, and at the same time we get a lot of physical activity,”said Sam.Jonathan is involved in various other sports, but says mountain biking is his favorite activity because it works out his whole body.
The great part about alternative fitness is that the possibilities are endless. While some community members prefer to stay on two feet, others take the term alternative to more creative heights. Aerial silk is a form of fitness rooted in ancient chinese acrobatics, often taking its participants well over ten feet into the air. Performers learn to hold strenuous poses while grasping silken strands flowing from the ceiling, drawing from a whole set of muscles most people did not even imagine existed.
Tumbling, twisting, flipping and flying is part of the process. While aerial silk has traditionally been held by a closed group of acrobatic performers, it has been opened to anyone willing to give it a try in recent years.
However daring and intimidating some of the poses may seem, everyone has a starting point, and no one is expected to learn on their own.In fact, the aerial silk community is proud of the family feel everyone has come to experience while members push one another to learn new techniques.“The difference between us and a traditional gym are the different forms of training,” Summer Vyne said. “It is kind of like a personal one on one class, and it is fun.”Mountain biking and aerial silk are similar in that both offer a full body workout, allow participants to regulate their own pace and can be mentally rewarding.
“There is emotional gain and mental gain,” said Tempestt Halstead. “When you come in here, not matter what you are going through throughout the day, it all goes out the door.”