It’s healthy, creative, and glamorous. A beautiful art that’s become a popular exercise amongst middle-aged women and if you think pole dancing is all about sexy girls slithering around a brass pole in high heels and a bikini, it’s time to change your mind.
Pole Dancing is now a recognised sport with a growing tribe of ‘grey pride’ ambassadors who are challenging all sorts of stereotypes such as Katie Coates, president of the International Pole Sports Federation, Greta Pontarelli one of the world’s top performers, Andrea Ryff and Joanna Littlewood-Johnson who competed in the 2015 International Pole Championships in Hong Kong, where Littlewood-Johnson won the Masters Ultimate Champion title and Ryff won the Masters Pole Art division title.
Most recently, after the release of Jennifer Lopez‘s latest Hollywood blockbuster ‘Hustlers‘, which sees the star playing the role of a pole dancer, and the endorsement of Vogue as the ‘It-Fitness Trend’ of the year in 2019, the vertical fitness has become more popular than ever with people finally realise that more than anything, it’s just great fun to learn.
With over 5 million people across the globe getting involved in pole sports, and 500 studios and gyms across the UK teaching pole dancing, this fitness activity is giving women everywhere a new way to enjoy exercise. It is a complete full-body workout; a kind of vertical gymnastics crossed with choreographed that improve body confidence, muscle strength, and flexibility.
Beginner classes usually incorporate stretching exercises and learning to swing around the pole first. In particular, you’ll work your entire upper body, core, and thighs as pole dance involves lifting your own body weight, climbing up a vertical pole with no foot-holds and eventually learning to invert your body. Class sizes tend to be fairly small, usually 6-12 people, so you get the chance to meet new friends and enjoy learning as part of a small ‘no judgemental’ community.
Turning into a ‘Pole Sensation’
The good thing is you don’t need any previous fitness experience and you don’t have to be in your 20s to become a pole sensation .
There is a sleeping goddess inside every woman and I’m on a mission to wake her up,- Makeda Smith, founder of Flying over 50, the Californian pole dancing brand inspiring older women to get moving and get their mojo back, says-. As we grow older, a lot of women naturally shut their bodies down. We stop moving and grooving. Caring for others more than we care for ourselves has worn us out. I remind women to take pleasure in swaying and swinging their hips again. In class, we pose like goddesses and move our arms and legs with rhythm and passion. Sexy becomes our sacred work.
Makeda created Flying Over 50 as a “sacred space for seasoned goddesses”. Her intention to celebrate the merits of poling as a woman over 50 started as a blog in 2015. Flying Over 50 has since morphed into a movement, with classes and workshops incorporating yoga and slow, sensual meditative dance moves that tone the core that cater to “women of a certain age.”
When women come to my workshops, I teach them how to get movement back into their bodies – she says-. No matter the kind of movement that you do, whether it’s dancing or exercise, movement helps you physically and spiritually. It also clears the cobwebs out of your head, raises your endorphins, and just has tremendous health benefits. A woman doesn’t have to pole dance to reap the rewards.
Fighting osteoporosis with pole dancing
Vertical fitness has a whole range of advantages that anyone can benefit from. It’s a tough learning curve though. Whilst pole dancing is a fun activity for beginners, it does take patience and time to learn. But if you do persist, it’s extremely worthwhile.
Greta Pontarelli started pole dancing at age 59, in a bid to bit off osteoporosis and has since gone on to become a star (nine times world master champions), pole dancing all over the world.
I have always had a strong drive to be fit and I have learned that we can live an inspired life of health and wellbeing if we only allow ourselves, – Greta says-. But how do we tap into that magic elixir that exists within all of us so that we are motivated to live our dreams? The key is in finding our passion and that is the fuel that drives us to create the life that we would love to live. As a senior citizen internationally ranked pole artist, it is my goal that in some way my passion is contagious and helps you find doorways where you once thought there were walls. It is the magic that finds and unlocks the door and then drives you to become that best that you can become. The journey always begins in the present moment.
More and more women speak of the confidence pole dancing gives them. It takes them outside of their comfort zone, but it often proves an empowering experience and helps you to feel sexy. It’s amazing what your body can do without realising it.