By Sveindís Þórhallsdóttir, Iceland

Pole dancing is such a great sport! It is a totally new and different way for you to exercise and get healthier. Pole dancing for fitness has been becoming increasingly popular in the last 10 years and it definitely is a fresh breeze in the fitness world, offering us  diverse ways of keeping ourselves healthy and staying in shape. Because of that, pole is a wonderful sport to be embraced and celebrated.

BUT apart from that, I like to tell my non-poling friends these simple reasons why they should take up pole dancing. Because it makes you better at life!

Reason 1: It blows your confidence out of the roof!

Unfortunately women are everyday bombarded with information on how they should look, dress, do their hair and make-up, behave and breathe, to be the “ideal woman”.

Ridiculous beauty standards established in photoshopped ads and magazines all over the world also do not help build women’s confidence. Many of us constantly tear ourselves down, criticize ourselves and our bodies just because they are not somehow different from how they actually are. In addition, society has imprinted in women that showing their bodies is wrong and that covering up is being a “good girl”.
 This is why pole dancing is so wonderful. You are required to wear short shorts and a top as a safety precaution; otherwise you don’t have enough grip on the pole. It can be tough for a beginner because we are not used to it, and we feel we are breaking the unwritten good girl rule of society.

I for one felt awkward the first time I walked into my pole class and had to wear clothes that left me feeling almost naked in front of a large group of total strangers, and then they even expected me to do some graceful (not quite) maneuvers around a pole, at the same time I was busy being self-conscious!! Luckily I was brave enough (and pole was too interesting) to quit and I kept going – with each class I was forced to look at my body for longer, while constantly developing and increasing my skills. As a result, watching my body more and more actually helped me to appreciate it more. After all, it’s just a body, everyone has it. And it’s the only body I have. What standards should my body fulfill but my own? Why waste my life on hating it for what it isn’t, instead of loving it for what it is? Pole helped me realize that, and for that I will forever be grateful. And you’re anyways WAY to busy trying to actually do a trick, spin or combo without falling off the pole to spend your precious pole time worrying about how you look. Instant success!

My body might not be like the ones in the magazines…But it’s mine, and it’s strong, and it’s beautiful.

Reason 2: It broadens your perspective

Pole dancing increases your positivity towards others.

I love this aspect of pole and I think it is a huge one. When you go into your class, join a group of people who are of all shapes and sizes, all ages and both sexes, all on the same quest to mastering pole tricks; be that climbing the pole, managing to sit it for longer than 2 seconds without gritting your teeth with the pain (a HUGE accomplishment right there!) or learning how to invert, you realize how great and unique we all are and you become more accepting towards others. When you get the pole bug and join all pole groups there are to find on social media (it will happen, I promise you!) you appreciate watching other people from all over the world accomplishing astonishing things on the pole. You even start giving compliments to total strangers, even though this is totally unlike how you used to be; now it is normal to you because you share a special bond with the person; he/she is not a stranger anymore – you two are connected through pole.

Being involved in the pole world and hearing other polers stories also opens your mind to different cultures and different ways of thinking from your own. Maybe your culture is not big on pole dancing in heels (such as mine); you still love to watch the talented polers who do wear them swing around the pole in an effortless way and you respect them deeply because you can only imagine how hard it is! 
It is clear that sending out more positivity and being more open minded towards others only gives you back a hundred times; as we all know – karma is a real thing!

We come in all shapes and sizes, we support, encourage and appreciate each other!

Reason 3: It increases your happiness

Studies have shown that the biggest motivator to beginning exercise, and better yet, keeping exercise as a lifestyle habit, is in fact our happiness.

Poling makes us feel so happy!  It makes perfect sense, doesn’t it? Finding the motivation to start physical activity is very hard, but getting your tush off the couch and out for a run can be an unbearable chore when you actually kind of don’t like running … at all.

This makes pole dancing the ideal exercise for us – because we inherently enjoy the time we spend in the studio or at home, working towards our goals, whether they are to learn to do the splits, master the invert or jump into a hardcore spatchcock! There are always goals to work towards, always something new we want to be able to do, which constantly keeps our interest, motivation and enjoyment high. The workout stops being a chore you need to check off of today’s to-do list, instead becoming something you look forward to do, something you very much enjoy. You fall in love with exercise. And all the while you are staying in shape, getting healthier and happier! Life is a lot easier when you are happy. As they say, smile towards the world and the world will smile back at you. Karma guys, it works!

No more words needed.

Reason 4: It makes you st-st-st-stronger!

New polers immediately discover this amazing by-product of beginning their pole journey.

Pole power! The body weight exercises required in pole dancing instantly make you stronger and more stronger! All of a sudden you need to use muscles you had no clue existed before (heck, your muscles even have muscles since you started pole!) you discover how super strong and awesome your body really is and how it is capable of much more than you ever dreamed of. And let’s just mention a few extra benefits this offers for daily life; you no longer need help carrying heavy items long distances (now it’s something you do for fun), you can now lift your kids or little siblings (possibly even your husband) high up in the air without breaking a sweat (much to their joy) and you can even climb lampposts (which will be very handy if a zombie apocalypse ever breaks out!).

Woo! Awesome party trick! (and also useful if you ever need to hide from someone).

There you have it, lovely reader; I could probably go on for many more pages, but I think we’ve established how wonderful and amazing pole is, and better yet, how our sport makes us better at life! We are more confident, healthier, happier, stronger, more open minded and friendlier. All thanks to pole. And we sure pay it forward!

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