Embracing Empowerment: Why I became a pole dancer at 49

Embracing Empowerment: Why I became a pole dancer at 49

I am using the ‘became a pole dancer’ term very lightly here. But here goes.

If you remember pole dancing like I do, it usually involved long nights with even longer drinks (pretty sure my choice then was a tequila sunrise), dancing with friends and the eventual 3am question…. Where to next?

We’d enter a dimly lit club, buy some overpriced drinks and watch in awe (as women do) the incredible fitness of these women, while sleazy men watched on from the side.

Or you may have had a giggle with girlfriends at a hen’s party, a pole set up in a hotel room where you may have spun around a few times, maybe learnt a simple trick, embarrassed to even give it a go.

Maybe both.

Whilst I have always been active, from dancing through my teens, to fitness instructor, yoga teacher and pilates fanatic, it never once crossed my mind to give pole dancing a go.

Then came my ‘year of yes’, where I challenged myself to say yes to every invitation that came my way (that’s another story).

I went along to an introductory class with Kate, and by golly gosh it spoke to me. And this is why... It is by far the best mix of everything that I LOVE – dance, strength, creativity and POSITIVITY.

So here are my reasons for taking a chance and giving pole dancing a good go.

Physical Fitness and Strength:

One thing you do not want to lose in your 40’s is muscle mass. This is why we’re encouraged to keep the weights up and workouts coming. Whether it is pilates, walking with weight vests, lifting weights, you need to keep it up - It helps with bone density, muscle health, metabolism and so much more.

Pole dancing is an excellent full-body workout that is hard, but also fun. It engages so many different muscle groups, promoting cardiovascular health, enhancing core strength, and improving overall flexibility. It is honestly the hardest thing I have done in a while, but each week I can see improvement as I become stronger, more confident and even more flexible.

Boosting Confidence and Self-Esteem:

Pole dancing is not just about physical fitness; it's also a powerful confidence-building activity. Each week I’m in a class with all different ages, shapes and sizes. I am probably 20 years older than most girls in my class. But we’re all in it together, and all wearing….let’s face it…not much (you need skin to grip to the pole). It’s no secret, we face societal pressures that can impact self-esteem. But each week for one hour we cheer each other on, clap when someone gets a move they’ve been struggling with, or earns another bruise. It really is a sense of accomplishment and pride. The supportive community within pole dancing classes provides a non-judgmental space where we can embrace our bodies and celebrate our achievements.

Stress Reduction and Mental Well-Being:

Pole dancing offers a unique blend of physical exertion and artistic expression, making it an effective stress reliever. The rhythmic and fluid movements, combined with the focus required for balance and coordination, create a meditative experience, or at the very least a giggle. It’s a great escape from the daily stresses of life, and promotes mental well-being and mindfulness.

Embracing Femininity and Sexuality:

Pole dancing celebrates femininity in a way that is both empowering and liberating. For someone recently widowed and only now entering the dating scene, reconnecting with sensuality can be a transformative experience. Do I struggle? Yes. Especially when I’m mad enough to film it each week and post my not-so-sexy moves on social (ahem @walker_on_the_wild_side). BUT, pole dancing encourages a positive relationship with my body, allowing me to feel confident and comfortable in my own skin. Who knows where this newfound connection with my body will take me.

Social Connection and Community Support:

Joining a pole dancing class can provide an opportunity to connect with like-minded individuals. The supportive community that often forms within these classes fosters friendships and a sense of belonging. Sharing the journey of learning and mastering pole dance moves creates bonds that go beyond the physical aspects of the activity, creating a network of encouragement and understanding. I know I now look forward to seeing my newfound friends each week. 

Plus, it’s so much fun.

So, if you’re curious to give it a go, then my advice would be to just do it.  Pole dancing might be the key to unlocking a whole new world of strength, confidence, and most importantly, joy. The shoes are a bonus also.

Much love.