How is your New Year’s exercise regime going – in full swing or still sofa bound? Perhaps you’ve considered joining the gym or your local sports club, but I’ll bet you haven’t considered hot air ballooning. long balloon But the balloon does all the moving right? Wrong. At Virgin Balloon Flights we like our passengers to get involved in the whole experience, this includes helping to inflate and deflate our balloons. Passengers are completely at liberty to decide whether they fancy helping out or not. After all you need a lot of puff to blow up a big hot air balloon. Once unravelled, our balloons stretch out a long way – that’s a lot of material (plus a basket) to send skywards. Now I know ballooning won’t be a permanent fixture on your exercise plan, but during a one-off flight we reckon a passenger can burn approximately 391 calories. Not bad when you’re having fun. Inflation Before soaring to the skies, there’s lots of work to be done. First of all the balloon needs to be unpacked from its case and then rolled out to its full length on the ground. Passengers are then invited to help unfold the balloon envelope so that it forms its full shape. Two people then hold open the neck of the balloon to fill it with air – the pilot then turns his burners on, heats up the air inside and the balloon begins to inflate. Deflation After landing, it’s all hands on deck as passengers are invited to roll on top of the balloon to squeeze out all the excess air. It’s important to get rid of all the air and fold the balloon neatly because it has to return to its storing bag – which is seemingly small in comparison to the size of the balloon. VBF Relax It’s easy to underestimate how big our balloons actually are – especially when you’re used to seeing them floating off in the distance. Inflation and deflation might require a little energy, but our pilots and crew think it’s important for passengers to get a feel for their mode of aviation. In the air Whilst there isn’t much calorie burning to be done once you’re adrift, you shouldn’t underestimate the other health benefits of getting airborne. Fresh air improves your state of mind, which leaves you feeling more energetic and less lethargic. It also makes you feel happier – the amount of Serotonin (happy hormone) in your body is directly affected by the amount of oxygen you inhale. Summer (3) The air quality improves as you soar skywards; good news if you suffer from high blood pressure. Cleaner air means your body doesn’t have to work as hard to get the oxygen it needs. Fresh air, gentle exercise and a stunning view – an unforgettable experience in the making, if you ask us. To book your outdoors adventure call 01952 212750 or visit www.virginballoonflights.co.uk today.