Saturday, July 31, 2010

English Paper #2: A New Way To Exercise

So, here is the second installment of Kayla's College Adventure ^.^

This particular paper is my favorite of the three I wrote for this English 101 class-Maybe since it has something to do with one of my new found passions:: Pole Dancing!

Please sit back, relax, and enjoy the witty banter of yours truly.

P.s. My original grade on this was a B+, but when I did all the corrections I got it bumped to an A-. Not too shabby if I do say so myself ;)


A New Way to Exercise

If I came right out and told you that I was a pole dancer, would you automatically assume I worked as an exotic dancer in some lively dance club, or would you assume I did pole fitness, a type of exercise used to keep in shape and tone one’s body? If I had to choose, I would likely say that exotic dancer would win out for the most common assumption made by a person, particularly someone who is not educated in the art of the pole. Going a step further, I have to wonder if they are aware of the fact that if a person becomes exceptionally good at pole dancing, they can go on to compete and perform professionally, or they can even take it a step further and join the circus! Unfortunately, pole dancing is not considered a traditional exercise, and is frowned upon, as well as not readily discussed in everyday society because of the misconceptions surrounding it. According to Debbie Mendel, the author of Addicted to Stress, pole dancing is a form of self expression that helps articulate certain emotions or events, similar to that of any other type of dancing. If people would only wake up, and view pole dancing for what it really is: a simple and effective way to exercise! The word “exercise”, however, is viewed as a taboo in today’s society: a chore that needs to be accomplished daily, similarly compared to things like taking out the trash, or washing the dishes. If people could have fun and actually enjoy exercising, more would be apt to do it, which brings me to my subject: pole dancing is more effective then a workout at the gym.

Some people think exercise is just exercise, and there is no escaping the monotony of its daily routine, but I would have to wholeheartedly disagree. There are so many different ways you can execute a certain exercise and keep in shape, from the machines that help you on your weight loss journey, to the classes and instructors that give you the knowledge to succeed on your own. Many gyms have both of those individual factors plus some, but to certain people, those factors can be quite overwhelming and more then a little intimidating. For example, a single person might need a treadmill for their aerobic training, a range of different sized weights for strength training, another machine for toning just a single part of their body, and a yoga teacher to help with breathing, just to name a few. With a pole, however, it is so much simpler: a single piece of exercise equipment and you. In fact, did you know that in an average hour, a 130 lb person who walks on the treadmill at the speed of 3.5 mph burns up to 354 calories, but it is said that starting at a beginners level in pole dancing with just the basic spins is roughly equivalent to that 354 calories? Imagine moving up to more advanced tricks and almost doubling, or even tripling that number. The same concept can be said for muscle groups. On the treadmill, you are specifically targeting your leg, thigh, and buttock region (hamstrings, quads, and gluts). If you substitute pole dancing, not only will you be working out all of the muscle groups in your legs, but you will be working to strengthen your core and upper body region (triceps, biceps, deltoids, and pectoral muscles) as well, which is the same as doing several sets of abdominal exercises and weight lifting reps. As if that was not enough already, while you strengthen all those muscle groups, you will also simultaneously be stretching, and becoming more flexible depending on what spin or trick you do.

Exercising is not only good for the physical body in numerous ways including combating illness, managing weight, increasing a person’s overall sleep quality, and decreasing stress levels, but it is also good for the mental aspect of your body as well. Losing and gaining weight can do a number on a person’s confidence level, so no matter how it may be done, weight loss is a huge attitude booster. Whether you are running on a treadmill at the gym, or pulling amateur to advanced tricks off on your personal pole at home, you can guarantee if it has anything to do with physical activity, you are going to reap the benefits! In that way, I can say both exercising at a gym and exercising on a pole are quite similar.

Continuing along with the confidence level boost that exercising can give a person, there is something that I can honestly say pole dancing as an exercise gives more so then a quick trip to the gym: empowerment. Weight loss can undoubtedly give a person confidence, but it cannot necessarily give them a feeling of empowerment and comfort within their own bodies. For example, for a woman, lifting weights and bench pressing doesn’t make you feel sexy like it makes a man feel masculine, but learning to ebb and flow with the beat of the music while working out your body on a pole definitely can! Numerous women (and even some men) of every size, shape, and age come away from a pole dancing class with new insight into their bodies, and how they work not just physically, but mentally. Apparently there is something to say about the practice itself since it is being adopted by big name schools like Cambridge University in the United Kingdom. Cambridge believes that the sport is also a way to “empower woman, as well as a fantastic way to exercise and have fun together.”

Calories and confidence are not the only things needed to be considered when thinking about exercising; money is undoubtedly an issue that few people equate with keeping fit. While there are certain gyms that are better then others, it all comes back down to money. To prove my point, I’ve chosen three local gyms: Peak Sports Fitness Club, the YMCA, and Bally Total Fitness. Monthly memberships to these three gyms, including the initial joiners fee, are as followed in the same order as listed above: $198.95, $96.00, $26.99. These totals do not include fees, taxes or any other incidental costs. A good, sturdy pole can be bought for anywhere from $200.00, all the way up to around $400.00. At first glance, that may seem like an expensive piece of equipment, but adding up the numbers over a period twelve months proves otherwise. For argument sake, we will say I purchased a new pole for $300.00. In the case of Peak Sports Fitness, a year would equal around $750.00, so comparatively, it would take close to five months to get my moneys worth on the pole, as opposed to a year membership at the gym. For the YMCA, around $625.00 a year and 6 months. Lastly, the gym with the longest amount of time to equal out our “pole purchase” is Bally Total Fitness, which costs a little under $325.00 a year to be a member, which is roughly what we spent on our pole.

I think the last, and most important factor in judging why pole dancing is better then a workout at the gym is one that everyone, no matter who you are, will be able to relate to. It is pure fun! You will always have those people who love to exercise regardless (me being one of them), but the majority of people viewing exercise as a daily chore will always dread the routine when the time comes, which is probably why society views it as a “taboo.” When I pole dance, time flies by and before I know it, the class is over, and I feel I have not really started exercising yet. However, when I’m in a gym, I’m quite aware of the time being spent on each piece of machinery, and my effort being put into all that time. If people enjoyed themselves while exercising, there is no doubt in my mind more people would be more apt to join in, and we would see a drastic reduction in obesity numbers.

The purpose of this review is not to belittle spending time in a gym, or to tell you you are wasting your time, but rather to give you options. Not exactly the extent of options a gym can offer you, but options that are simpler, a little less intimidating, and quite enjoyable. Pole dancing is not only an art form, but it is the best exercise I have ever gotten! Many people have seen the effects of my pole dancing physically through my weight loss and toning, but what they have not seen is my boost in self confidence, my being more comfortable within my own body, and my sheer enjoyment of the sport itself. I still love to do my many other exercise related activities in between pole dancing, but that is because I generally love to exercise. This is a chance for those who love to exercise, like me, to try something new, and those people who view exercising as a “chore,” to shatter that illusion and start treating their body with the respect it deserves!

Works Cited

· Mandel, Debbie. Addicted to Stress: a Woman's 7-step Program to Reclaim Joy and Spontaneity in Life. San Francisco, Calif.: Jossey-Bass, 2008. Print.

· NutriStrategy. "Calories Burned During Exercise." NutriStrategy, 2010. Web. 28 June 2010. .

· Peach, Susan. "How Many Calories Does Pole Dancing Burn?" Http:// Pole Dancing For Fitness, 2010. Web. 28 June 2010. .

· The Age. "Cambridge Offers Pole Dancing Lessons." Http:// The Age, 13 Apr. 2010. Web. 29 June 2010.

· Peak Fitness. “Club Membership Price List.” Peak Fitness & Peak Sports Club, 2010. Web. 28 June 2010.

· YMCA of Rock River Valley. “Membership Information.” YMCA, 2010. Web. 28 June 2010.

· Bally Total Fitness. “Become a Member.” Bally Total Fitness, 2010. Web. 28 June 2010.

Disclaimer:: This paper is the exclusive property and copywrite of The Eclectic Element.

1 comment:

Jenine said...

Nice paper. I'm still waiting for the pictures though. :)

Btw: I'm all for alternative methods of exercise. I do hooping. Burns lots of calories and you get an awesome abdominal workout. Not to mention arms if you do a lot of off body work.

Honestly, I'd give pole dancing a shot if I didn't think I'd fall on my head. I need all the brain cells I've currently got. :)