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UWA to do study on pole dancing's benefits

AAP logoAAP 24/11/2016 Greg Roberts

Shame on you if you dismiss pole dancing as an activity that exists only to titillate bucks parties and lonely blokes.

It provides physical and mental benefits for women, who participate in it for exercise.

University of Western Australia researcher Joanna Nicholas is investigating how significant those benefits are in what she says is a world-first study.

Pole dancing as exercise has exploded in popularity. Do an internet search on the term these days and you get a list of more dance classes, academies and studios than strip clubs.

Ms Nicholas, from UWA's School of Sports Science, Exercise and Health, said the study aimed to look at the effect of regular pole dancing on muscle mass, body fat, fitness levels and mental health over an eight-week period.

"It's a full body workout with particular focus on upper body strength, muscular endurance and flexibility," she said.

"People that are new to pole dancing are often surprised ... they don't expect it to be as fun and comment on the challenge of achieving movements and tasks."

Preliminary results suggest a one-our pole dancing session represents energy expenditure or burning off 1200 kilojoules, about the same as a body pump class or a 25-minute run.

Perth mother Justine Glew says pole dancing classes are a different challenge and a break from the routine of being a mum, school drop-offs and work.

"I enjoy the physical challenge and find I go off into my own zone and it really helps personally," she said.

Pole dancing instructor Shavaya Huskinson says she enjoys watching women come into a room scared and intimidated for their first class but quickly gain confidence and pride as they achieve moves and strength.

Ms Nicholas is calling for women to take part in the study at joanna.nicholas@uwa.edu.au.

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