With years of pop culture imagery and sex industry stereotypes firmly imprinted on our brains, it might be difficult to convince people that pole dancing is now officially recognized as a form of exercise.

The activity even has its own accredited organization, the International Pole Dance Fitness Association.

Historically, the sport can be traced back to an acrobatic dance from 12th-century China, which can still be seen today in Chinese circus acts and world-famous performance troupes like Cirque Du Soleil.

Today, pole fitness is considered an excellent strength training exercise, especially for the upper body. It improves flexibility, endurance and muscle definition — though all of this could be falling on deaf ears, as most of you are probably still thinking about strippers.