AFTER WALKING my two huge and headstrong dogs twice a day for years, I was looking for a low-impact exercise that wouldn’t strain my knees. That’s how I found myself in a Fling Bungee Fitness class about to attempt something called a “Tinkerbell.” Courtney, the instructor, was a pro at not only Tinkerbells but also “dolphins,” an advanced move that involves a midair spin.
“One, two, three—leap!” And suddenly I was soaring. Sooner than I would have liked, I felt my harness’ bungee cords gently stretch to their limit and then pull me back down to Earth. This dream of flying was achieved, albeit briefly, by taking three steps and leaping into the air with one leg pointed down, the other leg bent at the knee, and one arm raised toward the ceiling. It probably should have been called the “Peter Pan,” but no matter—it was a thrilling experience.
But the “trust fall,” with only the bungee to trust, gave me pause. The group watched Courtney do one, and then it was our turn. “Find your center, hold out your arms, and fall forward!” she urged. A spunky woman next to me leaned in to whisper, “I’ll try if you do.” So, we took a breath, held it, and let ourselves fall like planks of wood toward the floor. Forward … and then backward. Forward and then backward again. It was exhilarating and made great exercise.
Bungee fitness is a low-impact, full-body workout. The bungee cords create resistance and decrease stress on joints. Advanced “flyers” can even add weights for strength training. “Bungee fitness is especially good for those with arthritis or other joint issues, but [it’s] also for people just looking to liven up their fitness routine,” says Karrie Lacina, owner. The mandatory Intro to Bungee class, where everyone is a nervous beginner and comradery is organic, is the first step.