Why Pole Dancing Could Improve Your Fitness And Mental Health
Benefits for the unfit, unconfident and uncoordinated.
“Look at me! Does it look like I have become a stripper?”
A retort I have given to countless people after I reveal how much I enjoy pole dancing. Although increasingly popular, this sexy type of dance fitness is not quite as mainstream as a gym or Zumba class.
Pole dancing is so contrary to my personality, abilities and aspirations. This didn’t stop me, though. I decided to refresh my fitness routine or lack thereof and plunge into a class. After reaping the benefits listed below, I went from zero workouts per week to three. My positive progress is the inspiration behind this article.
You will become stronger
The number one element participants gain from pole dancing is strength. In fact, strength and toning became noticeable after the first few classes. For example, at the end of an 8-week term, I could climb a pole when I could barely spin during my first class.
Studies have found that height and weight do not influence ability or potential in pole dancing. Therefore, just because you are short and overweight does not mean you will have a harder time carrying yourself on the pole than a tall slim person. In fact, the opposite could be true. In shorter people, muscles are compacted within a tighter area and must exert force a short distance to contract their whole length and execute an exercise. On the other hand, taller people have longer limbs. Therefore, muscle mass is spread across a longer distance, potentially making it more challenging to complete a pole dancing exercise.
If you still doubt the strength benefits of pole dancing, consider this. For a pole dancer to perform tricks on the pole, they need to support their whole body. You will find that the human body is quite heavy, so this takes an impressive amount of strength.
You will become more flexible
Flexibility develops even from the first class in which dormant joints and muscles wake up from lack of use. The warm-up stretching exercises are so soothing; you may feel tempted to participate in a stretch class. These are often offered at pole dancing studios.
You may not place importance on flexibility. However, the health benefits form a convincing argument that flexibility should be on our list of health and wellness priorities. With greater flexibility, we have a decreased risk of injury and have a shorter recovery time after injuries. Flexibility can also potentially improve posture and reduce stress—the latter an unwelcome ever-present factor in most of our lives.
Rest assured, nobody expects you to do the splits as a beginner. On the contrary, the images of pole dancers you see are of well-accomplished dancers, all of whom have developed enviable levels of flexibility and style.
Get ready to feel sexy
Although becoming an exotic dancer or stripper may not be on your agenda, acting sexy once or twice a week is nothing to be ashamed of!
In a pole dancing class, you can be as sexy as you please. But, unfortunately, many of us are not known for our grace and finesse, especially on the dance floor. So if you are even remotely interested in your development in this area, pole dancing is a must-learn! You will execute moves ranging from head rolls to spreading your legs wide and don’t forget the various tricks and spins.
Any qualms about the lack of clothing should be put to rest by understanding such clothing is a safety feature of the pole dancing sport. How else would you stick to the pole? Bare skin on brass, baby!
Dancing is fun and good for you.
Regardless of how many left feet you have, you can’t deny the fun associated with dance. Like all forms of exercise, it releases endorphins that make us feel great. In addition, dancing is a sport and art form where you can let your inhibitions take over and add your own style. Pole dancing is no exception, and it gives us the added thrill of performing tricks and spins.
Dancing has countless health benefits. It is the perfect partner to a strength workout as it increases our aerobic fitness. Rest assured, you will work up a sweat and feel the workout the next day. In addition, it improves muscle tone, balance and coordination. For those who are shy of the gym or uncoordinated, this might be the ticket for becoming motivated to work out.
When we dance, we often put on a different persona. We develop a temporary alternative personality, which is refreshing and invigorating. Pole dancing will make you feel as if you like a femme fatale (once you acquire the moves, of course).
The challenges develop your confidence.
In a pole dancing class, you get out what you put in. Always. With practice and attempting the moves, you could be impressed with your progress.
If swinging with both legs open wide in the “Hello Boys” position doesn’t develop your confidence, nothing will. The sheer strength, coordination and flexibility this move requires are a testament to excellent progress made in pole dancing. How many people do you know who could execute such a move? Not many, if any at all, is my guess. The series of tricks you’ll learn will make you feel more powerful than ever before.
There are different types of pole classes
One size definitely doesn’t fit all in pole dancing; however, there is so much choice for all fitness goals and abilities.
Pole graded classes
These classes are graded from beginners upwards. At each level, you learn tricks and other movements. These increase in difficulty and require greater flexibility as you progress through the levels.
Choreography classes involve a greater amount of floorwork, so if you find tricks on the pole daunting, this class is for you. An added benefit of choreography classes is it is an even more intense cardio workout.
Stretch classes are focused on developing flexibility for pole dancing. Anyone can attend. The pole is used occasionally to support some stretch exercises.
Grab the essentials, and you’re ready to go.
Bare skin on brass will help you stick to the pole. If you are joining a beginners class, pole shorts and a tank top will suffice. You can participate in bare feet. Many of your classmates might choose to buy pole shoes quite soon into their pole dancing journey, but you don’t have to if you find the height daunting.
I highly recommend you purchase a bottle of “Dry Hands” or the equivalent. Like gymnasts, chalking up before doing tricks on the pole is incredibly helpful. It prevents sweaty hands and makes your hands more sticky.
Fake it until you make it
Pole dancing, like Zumba, has a positive vibe to it. If you cannot execute a move, do it your way, assuming you are taking your safety into account.
There is no point worrying about what your classmates think of you. Everyone is focused on following the challenging choreography presented by the instructor. Climbing, twirling and inverting on brass poles require intense concentration. Your classmates care more about their progress than yours.
This increasingly popular form of exercise and sexy art form is worth trying. It could very well improve your fitness and mental health. This fun new hobby is just around the corner at a pole studio near you.