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Why I Love Pole Dancing

Want a workout that combines aerobics, dance, yoga, strength training, and makes you feel like an incredibly hot sex goddess?

Try pole dancing for exercise!

Yes, I know it sounds ‘slutty’;  I watched re-runs of The Sopranos and scenes of the famous Bada Bing Club where Tony’s girls strutted their sexy stuff.

Truth be told I was damned impressed by not only their sexiness but their athletic ability. Swinging your entire body around a pole works your arms and abs like nothing else. I love pole dancing!


Pole dancing classes offer women the opportunity to let loose and have fun while toning our bodies and increasing our core strength. Once featured only in ‘gentlemen’s clubs’ and strip joints, pole dancing is emerging as the latest health-club rage.

I am an exercise cheat. By that I mean that I try the newest and latest craze to keep from being bored with any one routine.

The only thing I have stuck with is dancing but even that has had many incarnations. Bhangra, belly-dancing, and the hula have all been favorites of mine at one time or another. Always on the lookout for a new type of exercise to alleviate getting into a exercise rut, I decided to give pole dancing a shot and signed up for 4 weeks of  lessons 3 times a week. There were six women in the class, all eager to try this new dance form.

At my first class our instructor Callie, who is incredibly fit and toned, demonstrated how we would use the pole. When she did it, it looked easy. Alright, I thought, this is dancing, I can do this.

I take Ballet Barre, I play tennis. No problem. Uh-huh.

Like all dances moves you see on stage or in movies, the steps for pole dancing have different names. The first move we were taught was the Fireman’s Spin. You do it by hooking your legs around the pole at mid-level and spinning down the pole to the floor. The Corkscrew, literally winding your body around the pole, was a bit harder.  Both were strenuous and more challenging than any other dances I have ever done. We all tried, hell we were in the moment. We strutted, we pranced, we worked that pole!  This was fun, this was exhilarating; this was exhausting. I was definitely challenged.

The challenge was there and I took to it like a little  girl in her  first pair of tap shoes to a stage. I was hooked, my aching arms and legs notwithstanding. I was going to pole dance! Callie did tell us that we needed to build up our upper arm strength; we were lifting our own body weight after all. Some weight lifting of 8 pound weights would benefit us all, she said, demonstrating arm curls.

We prevailed and two weeks later all six of us were able to do the caterpillar, climb the pole and then slither down head first without falling on our faces. I secretly blessed my Ballet Barre dance instructor who constantly pushes stretching and flexibility. I had no problem getting my right leg up the pole while my left leg was hooked around it. The problem was letting go and not falling backwards but I did it and felt a major accomplishment had been done.

Now as in any dance class from ballet to jazz, along with the dancing comes the attire. Dance attire does put you in a certain frame of mind. Leotards and ballet slippers make you feel like a ballerina. A beaded, jangly skirt helps you visualize being a belly-dancer. Callie wore a high-cut bikini bottom, a dancer’s beaded bra top, and heels. She could have easily been a dancer from a Broadway show. Most of the dancers, me included, wore dancer’s shorts, tank tops and were barefoot. So, during week 2 when Callie told us that we needed to ‘dress the part’,  I wondered, if I had to dress like one of the Bada Bing girls to feel like a pole dancer. I mean, omigod! they only wore thongs and pasties!

No, thank goodness, thongs and nipple covers weren’t a requirement.

To get in the mood and get into the movements, Callie only encouraged us to wear sexy attire, like platform heels, midriff bearing tops, and modified stripper shorts.

By the fifth lesson all of us had taken up Callie’s clothes challenge. It was sexy and fun. However, I have to give it to professional pole dancers; pole climbing in heels is a real challenge. God bless you!

It’s no secret that dancing fitness classes offer tremendous benefits to professional dancers and athletes. You’re not bored because there are always new moves to learn and your body responds to the challenges. Pole dancing tightens everything; arms, legs, and abs. But be warned, even habitual exercisers are surprised at how fatigued and sore their bodies are from pole dancing for a few weeks. Staying with it brings physical benefits and energy.

Besides the enormous physical benefits of pole dancing, there is something else. You get a wonderful sense of empowerment that comes from being in charge of your body. It’s sexy, it’s powerful, and nothing like any other exercise I’d done before. I’m sticking with it.

As I signed up for another 6 weeks, Callie gave me and the other women  a warning; in order to continue to reap the benefits and keep the toned body, pole dancing is an exercise that you have to keep doing at least once a week. That’s fine with me.

I’m already looking for the perfect place in my house to put up a pole.

Read more from Kristen Houghton on her website 

midlife boulevard, columnist, midlife women, middle-age, midlife crisis

Kristen Houghton

Kristen Houghton is an author, blogger on the Huffington Post, and contributor to Kalon Women.

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