Despite its stripper stereotype, pole dancing is on the rise.

Research at The University of Western Australia has found that many women are finding “great benefits” for their mental and physical health.

Dr Joanna Nicholas, from the UWA School of Human Sciences, said she was drawn to studying pole dancing because it combined fitness and dance but still had mixed perceptions.

“Pole dancing has evolved from both Eastern and Western influences,” she said.

“Chinese and Indian pole date back centuries, and more recently in Western culture within striptease and exotic dancing, which is what many people associate it with, and which initially limited its uptake as a legitimate form of exercise.”

However, despite this, its popularity has only increased in Australia – from 4 studios in 2004 to at least 118 in 2018.

“This large growth rate indicates it is now more commonly being used as a form of exercise however there is still a stigma attached to it with embarrassment and hesitation from some to consider it as a form of exercise.”

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The research referenced other stigmatised exercise activities, including belly dancing, roller derby and lingerie football.

Dr Nicholas said pole dancing also had physical benefits that many other forms of exercise did not.

“Pole dancing is unique as it combines three forms of exercise – cardiovascular fitness, muscular strength and flexibility – so it’s a good choice for achieving different types of exercise in one workout.”

You can check out the full study here.