Is Pole Dancing High Impact?

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"Is pole dancing high impact? I’m talking about purely gymnastic, non-sexy pole dancing taking place in a gym, as opposed to the sexy club kind. I’ve been warned away from high impact exercise by my doctor, because of something with my joints. If I overdo it, I could end up with arthritis when I’m older."
~Question submitted by Anonymous Site Visitor

When compared to traditional high impact exercises like running, skipping rope, or doing exercises like jumping jacks, there is relatively little impact on the joints with pole dancing, particularly at the beginner level.

The exception to this might be with landing airborne moves. If you have concerns about impact on your joints, you'll want to take extra care with this aspect of pole dancing. And depending on your doctor's guidance, you might choose to avoid airborne moves entirely.

However, assuming you have a qualified pole dance instructor (ideally with training as a fitness professional), and who is aware of your limitations, you should have been helped to develop the strength needed to land these types of moves gently and with full control, BEFORE you get airborne.

Pole dancing is definitely a strength builder though, and any time you strengthen your muscles that's a good thing for your joints. That's because strong muscles can withstand more stress and can literally carry more weight.

When your muscles are strong they can do their job. When they're not, there's more chance that your joints, tendons and ligaments are going to have to help your muscles out. And that means doing a job they're not really designed to do. This in turn causes unnecessary stress which can lead to injuries or even chronic joint issues.

So do use caution and progress slowly. Even though there's not a lot of impact involved (barring any falls or hard landings of course!) pole dancing can stress the joints, particularly the shoulders, if you do too much too soon. This is because you need time to build up muscle strength so that your joints and connective tissues aren't taking on more than they should.

If you use a gradual approach, give yourself sufficient recovery time between workouts (as with any other physical activity), and pay attention to how your body feels, you will probably find this form of exercise to be of benefit to your overall fitness, with little to no negative impact on your joints.

Of course it's always advisable to consult with your health care provider if in doubt. However, it's understandable that you may not be comfortable discussing with your doctor whether pole dancing is appropriate for you.

If that's the case, please make sure that at the very least you speak with any instructor you are considering taking classes with, before you go ahead and register. You'll want to make sure the instructor has a recognized certification as a fitness instructor, and that they have the training and experience to be able to offer appropriate modifications given your specific limitations.

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