Pole Fitness Classes for Kids: Not OK or No Big Deal?

by Alanna Nuñez for SHAPE.com

Pole fitness for kids: No big deal or not OK?Pole fitness for kids: No big deal or not OK?The owner of a fitness studio in Vancouver Island, Canada, is drawing raised eyebrows after announcing that she will begin offering pole dancing classes for kids as young as five. Kristy Craig of Duncan's Twisted Grip and Fitness Studio insists that there's nothing untoward about her decision.

"There is nothing provocative. There is nothing sexual about it…It's pure fitness and strength and fun," she told ABC News. "I mean, kids love climbing trees. They will climb anything."

So...is this OK? One Canadian fitness instructor came to Craig's defense: "It's the use of a vertical pole to improve one's coordination, flexibility, and strength," Carolyne Braid told the Winnipeg Sun on Tuesday. "My children have been around it since they were three and five years old," Braid said of her daughter and son, aged 12 and 10, in a recent blog post on the subject. "It is treated as any other piece of fitness equipment we have in the house. My daughter has tremendous upper-body strength, and my son enjoys showing off feats of strength to friends."

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Craig says she has already signed up four kids for the class, including a little boy.

Still, that hasn't stopped others from questioning her decision.

Vancouver psychologist Derek Swain said the "social scenario" of such poles makes them questionable for kids.

"There are some parents who do tend to sexualize their children prematurely and inappropriately. I don't know whether this is involved in that. You look at the beauty pageants with the little girls all dressed up, and...I wonder if this is another form of that kind of experience," Swain said in an interview with the Winnipeg Sun.

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What do you think? It's true that pole dancing as a sport has been gaining in recognition worldwide, and there's something to be said for the fact that it's not too different from gymnastics or acrobatics. In fact, many Cirque du Soleil performers have training in pole fitness. But should those types of classes be available to kids? Sound off in the comments below!

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