I’m an active person; I hike, bike, swim, and have even started rock-climbing. My body can do some incredible things, and yet, I still find myself hating on it and its appearance. All too often, I’m focused on what it isn’t and what it can’t do, instead of what it can do. That’s why I signed up for my first-ever pole dance fitness class after hearing friends rave about its body-positive effects.
For many, the phrase “pole dancing” immediately calls to mind seedy clubs and leering men—not body positivity or a butt-kicking workout. But, that’s exactly what you get—and truly, anybody can do it. You don’t have to be a hardcore athlete or look a certain way; the range of ages and body types in my first class was a testament to that. I was pleasantly surprised at the number of cool things such a diverse group of women could do at their very first class. Talk about empowering!
I also appreciated the studio’s mindful approach to pole fitness, with a focus on joyful movement. In fact, the playful nature of the class brought back memories of being a kid at the playground. When you were a child, you didn’t think of what you were doing as exercise; you simply ran around, climbed on things, and played in a way that made your parents nervous. I was pleasantly surprised to find that shimmying up and down a pole at thirty felt a lot like recess at age eight.
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Of all the kinds of fitness I’ve tried, pole dancing has been the most body-positive. At first, I felt a little awkward and silly, and I worried about what I looked like in front of strangers. But once the music started pumping, those worries faded into the background. I quickly noticed that I was physically stronger than I was a year ago and that made me proud—and pushed me to try harder. Despite being surrounded by mirrors, I stopped caring about my reflection. I was too focused on the instructor and our next cool move to care about what I or anyone else looked like.
I felt that the class was such an empowering place to be because it encouraged students to be sexy—however it felt best for them. Tell me, when was the last time someone encouraged you to be sexy or to lower your guard and just have fun? Embracing your sensuality in front of strangers isn’t easy, but the minute you let go and enjoy yourself, you feel a sense of empowerment. Normally an anxious introvert, I left the studio that day feeling like I could do anything. In conquering my fears by trying something new, I discovered that I’m not only physically strong but emotionally strong as well.
If you’re looking for a fun new way to mix up your fitness routine, why not try out a pole dance fitness class? It’s an excellent workout that combines cardio and strength training, with a focus on core strength and flexibility. I am willing to bet you’ll walk away from your first session sweaty, energized, and overjoyed with what your mind and body were able to accomplish.
Photo Credit: Media Photos/iStock