Pole Dancing Is Not Exactly the Fitness Trend You Think
Pole dancing has long had a reputation for being an adults-only activity. It was originally associated with certain types of clubs, if you catch our drift, but that's not the case anymore. Pole fitness classes have caught on like wildfire.
They can be sexy if you want them to be, but there are just as many classes focused on strength, grace and fitness. If traditional workouts aren't your cup of tea, here's why pole fitness is this year's trendiest craze and why you should consider trying it.
Pole Fitness Doesn't Have to Be Sexy
Yes, we know. That was the entire point of pole dancing when it first started, but times change. At one point, wearing a two-piece bathing suit to the beach was scandalous. Now, it's completely normal.
Pole dancing is similar. People have embraced it as a fun way to get moving and explore what your body can do. You can wear whatever you feel comfortable in, as long as you can move freely. No skimpy outfits required.
RELATED: Best Yoga Studios in the U.S.
Pole Fitness Isn't Gender Specific
Again, the sport has come a long way. Initially, it couldn't be considered a sport at all. Now, it 100 percent can be, and it's not just for women.
People of all gender identities enjoy pole fitness classes, and the benefits are tremendous.
Flexibility Is Built Over Time
Flexibility gains are one of the biggest pros of taking pole fitness classes. If you think you're too stiff to try it, think again.
Beginner classes adapt to your level of mobility, helping you gradually become more flexible and explore a greater range of motion.
RELATED: Does Liquid Collagen Actually Prevent Aging?
Pole Fitness Requires Impressive Strength
This pose might look impossible now, but you can achieve a lot in a relatively short amount of time just by attending classes regularly.
Sure, you'll be sore at first, but as your body adapts, the number of skills you can do increases rapidly.
But You Don't Need Flexibility or Strength to Start
Pole fitness is for every level of strength and skill. You can hang from the top of the pole in the splits or practice strength and flexibility drills while your feet are firmly planted on the floor.
You're only limited by how much you push your own limits.
Like Yoga, Poses Start Out Fairly Easy
Like we said, you don't have to be a contortionist to try pole fitness. Positions like this one feel amazing after a long day of sitting at a desk, and they help develop upper body strength, spinal mobility and confidence.
Holding a pose like this also draws attention to your breathing. It can become a form of meditation that's borderline addictive — and amazing for your mental health.
Classes Include Strength-Building Exercises
If you think this looks easy, go to a playground and give it a try. Not so easy, is it?
Pole fitness isn't all fun and games. Classes include flexibility and strength drills to help you achieve all those impressive poses, so get ready to break a sweat.
RELATED: Why Everyone Should Try Aerial Silks at Least Once
Eventually, You Build Up Enough Strength to Do Crazy Cool Moves
The amount of core control required to manage moves like this is intense, but anyone can achieve it in time.
This pole fitness practitioner, for example, is a mom. If she can do it, why can't you?
With Strength Comes Confidence
Building strength is frustrating at first. It takes a lot of effort, and the soreness that comes along with trying activities your body isn't used to isn't exactly fun. Unlocking new skills, however, is so much fun.
Imagine being able to move your body in ways you never could as a kid, even when you're in your 40s, 50s and beyond. Becoming strong and aware of your own body automatically gives you a sense of confidence and power that carries over into the rest of your life.
And, Yes, It's Really a Workout
As this photo caption says, "Strong bones, strong body! Pole dancing not only sculpts your muscles, but also improves your bone density! Get ready for a workout that's not only fun but also helps keep your bones healthy and strong!"
Pole fitness is beneficial at every age. More advanced flows become a cardio workout, and every pole class tests your mobility and endurance. It's also a great way to improve balance and develop body awareness, which is particularly helpful as we age.
You Don't Have to Be Thin to Try Pole Fitness
If you're wondering if you have to be in amazing shape to pole dance, the answer is a resounding no. Lifting yourself does become harder when you're carrying more weight, but in no way is it impossible.
Anyone, of any size, can practice pole fitness. Having a physical activity you enjoy enough to do consistently can also help you shed some pounds, if that's your goal.
It's Actually Super Inclusive
Every pole studio is different, but most pole fitness classes are welcoming and accepting. If you walk into any fitness class and don't feel welcome, don't get discouraged, and don't force yourself to put up with an environment that doesn't inspire you or leaves you feeling excluded.
Leave and find one that celebrates diversity in every form because they're out there. Those are the kinds of studios we should be supporting, anyway.
Making Friends Is Half the Fun
Bring a friend, or make new ones who are on the same fitness journey as you. The difference between working out alone in the gym and showing up at a fun studio, greeted by smiles from fellow pole pals is striking.
Nothing against going to the gym, but working out with friends can give you the motivation boost to keep up the habit.
Everyone Has Their Own Reason for Trying It
There's still a sensual element to some pole classes, but there doesn't have to be.
People get into pole fitness for a number of reasons, including trying something new, feeling more comfortable with their own body and building strength.
Once You Master the Basics, You Can Show Off Your Skills Anywhere
Showing off isn't the point, but we're not going to lie: Seeing jaws drop when you turn yourself into a human flag is an added benefit.
Especially With Other Pole Fitness Buddies
Add a friend, and your pole fitness journey turns into some impressive vacation selfies.
This is so much cooler than the usual hand-on-your-hip pose.
Being Part of a Community Keeps You Accountable
Self-motivation and personal goals are usually the reason people start pole fitness. The connections they build in class are the reason they stay. The inclusive community vibe makes it harder to throw in the towel when you really don't feel like working out.
It's so much harder to quit when people will miss you if you don't show up to class. Once you're there, you'll be glad you didn't bail.
With Practice, Pole Fitness Becomes an Art
With enough practice, pole fitness classes can become a way of expressing yourself through movement.
It can be sensual if you want it to be, but it can just as easily be elegant, flowing and artistic.