Five unusual ways to get fit this autumn

Aerobics is so last century. It’s time to get in touch with your inner animal – or bird

Have you ever dreamed being able to fly? Imagined moving with the grace of a cheetah?  Or bouncing around like a chimpanzee? Well then there may be something for you in the latest classes on offer. Whether it’s the sight of neglected limbs exposed to the summer sun that spurs us into action, or a general wish to add some fun to our lives, there is no question that September is a popular time for joining exercise classes. So why not investigate what’s new and fun out there? I admit I have not tried them all yet. So this is not so much a list of recommendations as one of inspiration.

Animal flow

The clue is in the name. “This is a floor-based workout using animal-inspired moves coupled with a number of bodyweight disciplines for a fun, fresh, energising workout,” says Kaman Ryan, who runs classes in Animal Flow at Strive Studio in Deansgrange, Dublin. Be prepared to make like a crocodile, cheetah or even a crab.  “It brings together the best from dance, yoga, and strength training to give you a dynamic new workout and get comfortable on the ground using only your body. Classes are suitable for anyone looking to increase mobility, flexibility, muscle and core strength –  and to increase body awareness.”

Cost: The drop-in rate is €22, with discounts for packages. No mat is needed. A class lasts about one hour.

Aerial silks

Nothing to do with barristers or horseracing, these classes involve gliding through the air like a trapeze artist. Aerial Cirque, on Exchequer Street, in Dublin city centre, runs aerial silks, aerial hoop and aerial yoga courses for adults and children. They say you don’t even have to be particularly strong to have a go. “The beginners’ classes are for people of all fitness levels and most people have never done anything like this before,” says actress and instructor Ria Murphy.  It is quite a workout, however. “One of our male students told us he got rid of his gym membership a few months after starting as he was getting a better workout in the classes. The classes are very much a full body workout, with the main benefit being developing a strong core.” It is also good for active mindfulness. “You leave your work and the outside world behind – and focus only on what you’re doing. You can think only about what you’re doing in order to hold on,” says Murphy.  Aerial Cirque also holds taster workshops some Saturdays.


Cost: €105 for five-week aerial silk course. Classes last 90 minutes.


If bashing out your frustrations with weighted drumsticks sounds like tempting, the Pound classes run by Carla Roberts in the YMCA on Aungier Street in Dublin city centre might be just the tonic. “All my classes are in the dark with disco lights. It’s so much fun it doesn’t feel like a fitness class,” says Roberts. “It’s perfect if you don’t play a team sport – which a lot of older people don’t – because in this class you are part of a team.” The promise is you will tone your upper and lower body as well as working up a sweat.

Cost: €10 to drop in or €64 for eight classes. See

Pole Fitness

If you are up for a challenge, this might be just the thing to help you discover muscles you never knew you had. Pole Fitness, which is at the Firkin Crane Theatre in Cork, was started by Latvian dancer Anna Ilaya Ozolina. Its classes are designed to increase your strength, endurance, co-ordination and flexibility as you learn the techniques in a fluid, graceful and controlled manner. Particular attention is paid to helping you build a strong core and correct posture, before you tackle more advanced movements. “It takes practice and dedication but is totally doable if you put your mind to it,” she says.

Cost: €10 to give it a go or €40 for four classes. For for over-16s only. Wear shorts and a tank top.


Leave the bouncy castle to the kids and join a rebounding class, such as the one offered at Jump Zone in Sandyford. Bouncing up and down on a trampoline isn’t just a laugh, it can also give you a great cardio workout without putting excess stress on your joints. Jump Zone offers full body workout classes that allow you to jump, fly, and spin while strengthening your core, toning your muscles and burning calories. It promises the class will leave you “breathless and exhilarated”. Grippy socks and sensible instructors make sure it’s as safe as it is fun.

Cost: €13 per class (including grip socks) or €95 for 10 classes. Classes last 50 minutes and are for over-16s only.

Rose Costello is a journalist, health coach and fitness instructor who works one-2-one and in groups to help people get healthy. See