HELENA, Mont. - Pole dancing is not just for exotic dancers anymore. Folks of all ages are looking for ways to exercise beyond traditional treadmills and weight rooms, and fitness establishments are responding.
Gloria Charles, 44, is hoping to get into a bikini by next summer, so she is taking a pole dancing for fitness class at Inside Out Fitness.
Inside Out started offering pole dancing for fitness classes about nine months ago, and there has been a steady stream of participants ever since. Apart from providing a break from monotonous gym and jogging routines, pole dancing exercise provides an intense and satisfying workout, says instructor Lacey Chambers.
"Regular exercise is boring," said Chambers, 18. "The goal is to get a workout without feeling like you had to try so hard."
The morning after Charles took the class for the first time she was very sore.
"I told my husband everything but my fingers and my nose hurts," said Charles, a tax compliance officer with the Montana Department of Labor and Industry.
Chambers says sometimes people get the wrong idea about what the class is like because pole dancing is generally associated with strippers.
"It's just a little bit nasty," said Jennifer Krause, owner of the club.
Krause said the regimen focuses on core work and tremendously increases upper body strength. Chambers offers instruction after a warmup that encourages good form and many times inspires some laughter. Dancers hoist their own body weight with their arms, building muscles in the arms, abdomen, back and legs.
The fun begins when the disco lights flash and music begins.
The question is, will the trend last?