Remembering back to my PE lessons in school, I could run well but I was pretty terrible at throwing the shot put and javelin.

Knowing my own upper body strength, I am not ashamed to admit I was feeling extremely nervous to try out aerial circus skills at KL Pole and Aerial Studio at the Lakes Industrial Park in Braintree.

I didn’t have high hopes for my technique and I envisioned myself limply hanging on to swinging objects for dear life.

When I arrived at the studio, which also includes a pole fitness room for those interested in pole-based exercise, I was confronted by a hanging hoop, aerial silks and a trapeze.

My instructor Kaiya Latham, who suffers from a form of autism, bought the studio in August 2012 after learning that pole dancing could help her overcome the challenges she often faced.

Starting off like me, a complete beginner, her fitness grew along with her confidence, allowing her to combat her crippling anxiety, which left her housebound and unable to talk to people outside her own family.

Kaiya, 29, said: “When I feel physically strong, I feel emotionally strong.

“This was just something different that I never thought about doing before and it turned out to be the best decision of my life."

See this week's Braintree and Witham Times for the full feature.