Pole to Pole
We’ve all been told about the benefits of exercise over the last few months and more people than ever have taken up walking and cycling. With gyms reopening, not everyone feels comfortable going back, so what else can you do to keep yourself fit and healthy, writes Tracy Hargreaves
As a bit of a fitness goer, I’m always looking for something new to try and this week I tried pole fitness for the first time. Unfortunately, when people think of pole fitness they think of other connotations where it’s only seen in clubs, but pole fitness is growing in popularity because it has lots of health benefits and is something that you can do while being socially distanced!
So, what is pole fitness? It is essentially a series of exercises performed on a vertical pole which can improve upper and core strength, endurance, flexibility and confidence. Starting with basic moves you can step up to more complicated ones, building up to full routines. It is a complete body workout, because you are using your own bodyweight, you will soon build up strength in your upper body including biceps and triceps making it a great way to tone.
For many, it can build self-confidence. Don’t think you have to be young and super skinny to take part, there are people there of all ages, shapes and sizes and at different levels. No one, except the instructor, is watching you as they are all concentrating on their own routines, so you can take as long as you want to practice different moves until you feel comfortable. It can help improve your posture and walk tall, which in turn will help you feel better. As we get older, we have a tendency to get shrugged shoulders from not sitting correctly and this can affect our outlook.
Learning a basic routine is good for our minds and keeps it focused on what you are doing, helping you to switch off from every-day life. There are also some mental health benefits to pole fitness. Not only will you find a sense of empowerment, you will feel satisfied that you have tried something new and as with all exercise it will release endorphins, helping with stress and anxiety.
It’s also good for our body. While you are not putting stress on your joints, as you would if you were running, you are still strengthening your muscles and improving joint mobility and increasing flexibility, something we all need as we get older. In addition, if you are regularly doing moves which involve different parts of your body simultaneously on and off the pole, you will develop greater balance and coordination, which again will help us in later life, preventing falls as we get older.
It gets your heart going. Any exercise which increases your heart rate is good and while you might not think you are doing much at the beginning, you might be surprised if you feel a little out of breath.
As with any exercise it’s important to warm up and cool down. Wear sweatshirts and joggers making sure all your muscles are warm and stretched. When you begin your class, don’t push yourself too much. Know your body’s limitations and don’t feel disheartened if you can’t do a move first time.
There are many pole fitness studios around Preston and the Fylde area and the one I went to was so friendly and supportive.
So, grab the pole and give it a go.