Pole Dancing for Fitness: The Shocking Things You Didn’t Know
I started pole dancing after a good friend invited me to attend a class that she was passionately addicted to. I agreed to go along, somewhat reluctantly, as I had heard that pole dancing was for “dirty girls.” This is a category that I felt I did not belong in nor did I want to be associated with.
What happened next was truly amazing. The women I witnessed in the pole dancing class mystified me with their grace, strength, and sensuality. Even with my 30 years’ experience as a professional ballerina, Pilates and yoga expert, and as a certified teacher trainer, I was inspired to learn to move like these women. Always up for a challenge, I embarked on my pole journey and began to attend regular classes. After all, I thought, I am a dancer. How hard could it be?
I was shocked when every muscle in my body started to ache for days after each class, but I persevered. I was inspired to get better and keep learning. At first, I hid my new “hobby” from friends and family, but, as it became a bigger part of my life, I felt less inclined to hide it and more desire to share it.
First, there are different types of pole dancing; sport, art, and sexy – and they all require proper training. Pole dancing is a full body workout. What may seem like a simple act of climbing up a pole is actually an incredible display of strength, which is why most pole dancers, regardless of age, are in the best shape of their lives. It increases flexibility, improves arm strength, core control, confidence, and heart health. It also includes resistance training and cardio.
Moreover, women aren’t the only ones who can partake in pole dancing; the number of male participants continues to grow every year. Men’s natural inclination toward upper body strength makes them ideal candidates for the sport. There are even ancient forms of pole dancing, such as Chinese pole and Mallakhamba, which have been performed throughout history and almost exclusively by men.
Despite progress in the public’s understanding of pole dancing, pole dancers are still being stereotyped. Yes, pole dancing can be very sexy, but it is not always as overtly sexual as many believe. Pole dancers often have their legs, arms, and abdomen exposed, but this is in order for skin to grip the pole.
Because what we do is still considered taboo by many, there is a unique closeness that bonds us together. Pole dancers come from all professions, ethnicities, religions, cultures, sizes and ages. I have made friends all over the world through pole dancing. We support each other, and we watch each other perform. This shared interest bonds us with a special understanding.
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This article was originally published in “Health and Beauty 2016” and can be found here.