Haven’t you always wanted to serendipitously discover a new hobby or physical activity that challenges you mentally and physically? That provokes you and takes you beyond your banal “safe zone?” Well, for me, that hobby has been pole dancing. Like many fitness enthusiasts, my first conception of pole dancing was that it was “niche” sport that offered an opportunity to accentuate your sensuous side, but, would not test the experienced fitness fanatic. How wrong that assumption turned out to be! Pole dancing is a dynamic, dedicated workout activity that will dramatically improve your cardiovascular health, strength, flexibility, weight control, and self-confidence:
1.) Cardiovascular Health
- One of the first, immediate impressions imparted upon the pole dancing beginner is how demanding a typical pole dancing routine is on your heart. While the beginning pole dancer will gradually increase the duration of time for a practice routine, the average pole dancing routine involves four to five minutes of highly-choreographed, yet physically taxing movements around the pole. One strength move after another on the pole will whip up your body’s maximal oxygen output reading or VO2 to the highly desired 80%-90% peak efficiency that any athlete in training attains.
2.) Strength Training
- Pole dancing will revolutionize your body by activating long-dormant secondary and tertiary muscle groups that are often neglected performing the perfunctory, weight training at a gym. To elevate, twist, and turn around the pole while suspended in air and fighting gravity requires a compact, chiseled core section of the body for optimal results. No amount of functional training or free weights at the gym prepared me for the strength demands placed on my body during my first month of pole dance training. After two weeks of pole dancing, my body began to transform as the muscular definition in my arms and legs became more visible and my transverse abdominal and rectus abdominis muscles went into overdrive, providing my first washboard abs! Holding the myriad, difficult pole positions and defying gravity awakened these stabilizing muscle groups and gave me greater tone and definition than ever before.
- As someone who grew up with overly-tight muscles and I.T. bands, pole dancing dramatically improved my flexibility and ability to stretch effortlessly. When you begin your first pole dancing session, you will quickly learn that, unlike a weight training session, flexibility is crucial to successfully complete any pole dancing maneuver, since you do not have the floor or a weight machine to assist you. To complete an aerial split or back thrust pose, the pole dancer must self-initiate the shape without any aid or “crutch.” After my first few weeks of pole dancing, I noticed a distinct improvement in my body’s ability to fully stretch and hold various pole poses. Furthermore, the building flexibility enabled my I.T. bands to unwind and generate additional balance and strength for my pole routines.
4.) Weight Loss and Control
- Pole dancing offers immense health upside with regard to weight loss and control and the sparking of your body’s metabolism. As you develop the stamina and endurance to complete a four or five minute pole dancing routine, your physique will morph into a leaner, superior, calorie-burning engine. The transformation in your arms, legs, and core will convert fat tissue into desirable, lean muscle mass that consumes calories more efficiently and rapidly. Thus, your ability to shed weight or maintain your current weight will be enhanced in concert with a healthy, balanced diet. However, it is important to maintain a disciplined, weekly schedule of 3-4 pole dancing sessions if you wish to supplant your normal gym regimen with pole dancing classes.
- The beneficial effects of pole dancing do NOT begin nor end with the physical improvement of your body. Pole dancing also positively impacts the psychological and spiritual side of your person as well. Performing daunting twists and turns on the pole that seemed nigh impossible at first with emerging dexterity and grace provides a thrill and rush of adrenaline and confidence that is self-enlightening and liberating. After successfully completing my first suspended back bend on the pole, I felt a palpable excitement that i never experienced at the traditional gym. The feeling of accomplishment gained from testing the limits of your mind and your body was affirmative and transformative. As my pole dancing skills advanced and my self-confidence grew, my commensurate level of daily stress and anxiety abated considerably.
Pole dancing’s evolution over the last decade into a popular, fitness alternative to the traditional gym is richly deserved. The health benefits of pole dancing include improvements in cardiovascular health, strength, flexibility, weight control, and overall self-confidence.