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tried & tested tightrope walking.

THE circus might not be the obvious place to look for new toning tips but red noses and funny wigs aside, learning a circus skill can provide a whole range of fitness benefits. Circus space trainer Lila Lifely is a firm believer in the power of tight roping.

"We have a woman in her 70s who comes here. She finds that the tightrope helps her balance," says Lila.

As well as improving you balance, it tightens your quad muscles and core. Top tightrope walkers also sometimes use heavy poles which improve muscle tone in the arms.

Keeley attempting walking Aside from aiding stability, walking the wire requires full concentration on the task in hand which many of Lila's students find soothing.

WHAT'S IT LIKE? After warming up, our trainer at Circus Space - a charity and circus school in London - Lila asks us to walk one foot at a time, keeping one leg to the side for balance and touching the opposite toe with the balance leg.

Already, my sliding and balancing is more like wobbling and tumbling.

Next, we move to the small wires where we are mercifully given a partner who holds up a broom for us to cling on to as we attempt to walk the line.

After several shaky tries though, I finally get to the other end of the admittedly short wire (around 10ft long). This done, we now try moving without use of the broom. Unaided, it takes me much longer to stay on the wire and I now can only take two or three steps without toppling to the side.

I finally make it to about half way but lose my confidence and swerve off the wire but it's heartening to see the others - also beginners - walk to the other side unaided.

Bolger tightrope Despite my gracelessness though, I feel calm and like I've had a good work out and the following day, my calves and core feel nicely stretched out.

Skywire Live With Nik Wallenda airs on Sunday June 23 at 1am and is repeated on Monday June 24 at 8pm on Discovery Channel (Sky 520/ Virgin 211).

Keeley went to Circus Space in London. Visit www.thecircusspace.co.uk for more details.

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Keeley Bolger attempting tightrope
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Jun 26, 2013
Words:376
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