[PerthNow]

“It’s a full body workout with particular focus on upper body strength, muscular endurance and flexibility.”

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.”

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