While many overlooked the health benefits of pole dancing for years, they’ve recently come to the fore as associations with the practice have moved away from the strip club and into the studio.
Pole dancing has always required the same levels of athleticism, elegance and skill as gymnastics and ballet. It’s a great activity to get into if you want to reap the health and fitness gains and have more fun exercising than you could imagine.
People all over the world are now discovering the health benefits of pole dancing, and here’s why.
1. Increased strength
Pole dancing is a complete body workout. Even at beginner level, the moves are dynamic and engage multiple muscles at once. It’s little wonder, therefore, that so many personal trainers are embracing it.
Many pole dancing manoeuvres require you to lift and hold your own body weight, so it’s ideal for building strength in your back muscles, biceps, triceps, and forearms. Even if you come to a class without much upper body strength, you’ll soon build it up through pole dancing.
Here are some common pole dancing moves that help build upper body strength:
Beyond upper body strength, pole dancing gives you strong core muscles. Your abdominals and lower back muscles are used to perform moves where you need to climb, lift your legs, or hold your weight.
These moves are perfect for improving core strength:
We weren’t kidding when we said pole dancing is a complete body workout. Initially, you might find that most moves depend on upper body and core strength.
However, the grip for the more acrobatic intermediate manoeuvres comes from your legs. Sometimes, even without the assistance of your arms.
Try these moves for leg strength:
There are very few muscles you don’t use while pole dancing. The repetition involved in perfecting a manoeuvre means that by the time you nail it, you’ll be substantially stronger without even realising it.
2. Increased flexibility
Each of us is born with a full range of motion in our joints, but this is lost if we don’t use it regularly. In turn, our joints can feel stiff and our range of motion restricted. The good news is that you can condition your joints to restore flexibility—and pole dancing is perfect.
We’ve covered the importance of flexibility before. It’s about more than just being bendy—it also has practical health benefits.
When one part of our body is less mobile than it should be, other parts end up unnaturally compensating for it.
This can lead to premature joint wear, poor posture, and even poor form for basic movements like walking or lifting. Poor form means more aching, cramping and increased risk of injury, which may result in chronic joint issues.
Given the twisting, stretching, and bending involved in pole dancing, you’re training your muscles and joints to be more flexible. You’re also improving your sense of balance and spatial awareness.
Some of the more advanced pole dancing techniques border on contortion but don’t panic. You’ll have massively increased your flexibility by the time you’re at that level.
3. Cardiovascular health
According to WHO, adults aged 18–64 should complete at least 150-300 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise or 75–150 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic exercise per week.
Hitting this benchmark reduces the likelihood of developing Type II Diabetes by 40%, heart disease by 35%, and certain cancers by 20%. It opens the door to countless additional health benefits.
Pole dancing is an ideal way to hit this weekly recommendation because it keeps your heart rate up and incorporates your whole body, even at beginner level.
Furthermore, pole dancing falls between moderate and intense physical activity comparable to aerobics or calisthenics.
This means you don’t have to do it as long each week to reap the cardiovascular health benefits of pole dancing. Or, better still, you get a greater benefit for the same amount of time.
We spoke to Jaime Rangeley, a pole dancing instructor from The Pole Studio, who added:
“The beginning of each class has a cardio component to warm up the body and prepare it for exercise. In addition to that, we put together tricks, spins, and transition moves into combos to increase endurance.
Other health benefits include increased strength and coordination as well as neurological benefits. Learning new movement has been proven to develop new neural pathways and help reduce the risk of dementia.”
4. Balance and coordination
Multiple studies show that developing balance and coordination is important for improving your overall quality of life, especially as you age.
Despite this, both elements of health and fitness are largely overlooked.
Good balance is the foundation of physical movement, as it keeps you upright and on your feet.
Coordinating that movement relies heavily on balance, as you will struggle to control a movement that doesn’t stem from a strong stance.
The two go hand in hand, and training them has various health benefits, such as injury prevention and improved performance. Having greater control over your body is never bad and will certainly help you later in life.
Pole dancing is one of the best activities you can do to train your balance and coordination. It relies heavily on both, as getting to grips with balancing your body against the pole is the first hurdle you’ll face.
Coordinating your movements comes next; this is virtually impossible without first mastering balance. Once you get to this stage, you’re already making significant progress.
You can’t complete this activity without having trained both to some degree, and then you’re well on your way to receiving these additional health benefits of pole dancing.
5. Improved sleep quality
While scientists have yet to uncover the exact reasons behind their findings, multiple studies have found a link between regular aerobic exercise and improved sleep quality.
Since pole dancing is an aerobic exercise that challenges multiple areas of your fitness, it’s a great activity to try if you struggle with your sleep. It uses a lot of energy and releases multiple hormones that can help combat stress-related insomnia.
For example, your body will release serotonin during a pole dancing session. This mood-stabilising hormone is known for promoting healthier sleeping patterns thanks to its ability to regulate stress in your brain.
Endorphins, also known as ‘feel-good’ chemicals, are also released. They can similarly affect your sleep quality as they actively reduce stress hormone levels and decompress the mind.
Once you create better sleep patterns through regular exercise, this begins a ripple effect that positively impacts your health.
According to WebMD, getting quality sleep on a regular basis can help improve your mood, give you a sharper brain and boost your heart health, amongst other benefits. Pole dancing is worth a try if you want to improve your long-term health.
6. Weight loss
Among the health benefits of pole dancing is the fact it helps you approach weight loss from both a cardio and strength perspective. High activity in the sessions helps you burn calories, and all the lifting, climbing, and holding will help you build muscle.
Increasing and consistently maintaining your physical activity raises your basal metabolic rate. This is the number of calories your body burns when at rest. So, even when you’re not pole dancing, your body will be optimised to burn more calories between sessions.
Weight loss is related to yet distinct from cardiovascular health because you don’t have to be a high-performing athlete to be in good physical health.
However, pole dancing will result in you burning fat and gaining muscle. So, pole dancing is highly effective if your goal is to become leaner instead of just staying healthy.
Jaime Rangeley from The Pole Studio added:
“Many students do report weight loss and muscle gain, as pole dance is a very dynamic form of exercise. But regardless of any change to body shape, what I see in every single student is an increase in body confidence and self-esteem.
Although I have taught many other fitness classes, what makes pole dance unique is that despite being a demanding workout, we always have a lot of fun, and there is real camaraderie among the students.”
That brings us to the next point.
7. Mental health
All exercise is good for mental health—endorphins are released when we exercise, which are proven to reduce stress and anxiety. This, combined with improved health, positive physical changes to your appearance and the mental stimulation physical exercise offers, is great for your self-esteem.
In addition to this, there are some unique mental health benefits of pole dancing too. For instance, it creates a sense of solidarity with other classmates as each of you takes control of your body. You’ll also feel empowered and have more body confidence through pole dancing.
As Alison Hudd, founder of Pole People, said in an interview with the Evening Standard:
“It’s about developing your confidence, getting stronger, and being proud of what your body is capable of doing—because it can do so much more than you’d ever thought possible.”
Beyond this, at any level of pole dancing, there’s the satisfaction of achieving a spectacular feat through athleticism, determination, and study of the art form. Put simply, pole dancing is as fulfilling as any pursuit can hope to be.
Pole dancing is great fun, but with the precise moves involved you could land awkwardly and injure yourself.
With this in mind, you might want to cover yourself through specialist pole dancing insurance.
You’ll receive Personal Accident cover up to £50,000 to protect you in the worst-case scenarios. You can also add loss of earnings cover from £2.25 per month.
Click here to learn more or hit the button below to get an instant online quote.