Gone are the days when pole dancing was just a bit of late night entertainment on a night out with the boys.
Fitness instructors up and down the country have been bringing the pole out of the nightclub and into the fitness studio for a while now.
Imagine swirling yourself around a pole, music pumping as you have a laugh with your mates in a safe and friendly environment.
Pole dancing is a great way to improve flexibility, muscle tone and overall fitness, says Karen Currie, who is about to launch a new beginner’s class in Waterlooville.
She insists it’s also good for boosting self-confidence and is a lot of fun. Sound like the sleazy image of pole dancing you first had?
‘The best way I can describe the benefits of pole dancing is get fit, have fun and feel sexy,’ says Karen.
‘Sexy doesn’t have to mean sleazy, I have a wide range of women on my course. The youngest was 16 and the oldest was in her sixties.
‘It’s about getting fit and having fun.’
Karen has lived in Portsmouth all her life and by day works in the less glamorous construction industry with her husband. She sees pole dancing as a great way to socialise and have fun.
‘The fitness benefits are just brilliant,’ says the 49-year-old.
‘You are working on your core strength and other areas that women find particularly difficult to train, such as upper-body strength.’
She adds: ‘There is a great sense of camaraderie with the women.
‘It is a great confidence boost too – like having a cheeky little secret.’
Karen’s classes are held at Fitness First, Waterlooville, and Nuffield Health Centre, Chichester. They’ve proved so popular she’s now teaching six times a week.
And some classes are so in demand that she’s started looking for other instructors to help take the pressure off.
But pole dancing is not all fun and fancy. Last September at a pole dancing exercise class in York, a mother-of-two was left paralysed after falling from the pole, crushing her spinal cord.
Karen was sad to hear about the accident but thinks pole dancing is still a great form of exercise when it’s done in a safe environment with a qualified teacher.
She says: ‘Accidents can happen, like in any other sport, but you have to be mindful.
‘I am properly trained, have full insurance and make sure that there are mats provided.’
For Karen, the benefits far outweigh any danger – although she does admit it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea.
‘It doesn’t suit everybody so the best thing to do is come along to a taster and see if its for you.’
The next beginner class starts on Thursday, at Fitness First, Waterlooville.
Visit princessk.co.uk for more information or call 07769896155 to reserve a place.