WEST MONROE, La. (KNOE) - Steffany Windham is a nurse and has been teaching pole fitness for years. She opened up her studio, Steffany's Sweat -n- Stilettos, in West Monroe a year ago.
Over the summer she was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. “I had just been selected to do the United States Pole Dance Federation competition, which was competing with the best pole dancers across the United States,” says Steffany Windham. “Days prior, I was not feeling well. I mean I was having joint pain in my hands, they were swollen so that my knuckles were splitting."
Windham says she didn’t know if she would feel well enough to compete.
“One of those things with chronic illness, women, we kind of hate our bodies, like we're frustrated because you know we don't get to pick when it affects us,” she said. But with pole fitness, Windham sees more pain relief than she imagined. "I've noticed, the most flexible I become...and the more that my muscles develop and the stronger that I become, it takes the stress off my joints,” says Windham.
Pole Fitness is even a nationally acclaimed pain management technique. “The arthritis foundation, they recommend pole fitness as one of the top exercises for people with arthritis,” says Windham.
Millions of Americans are suffering from arthritis, and Celeste Robertson is one of them. “I have RA, osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, spondylitis, and two years ago I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia,” says Robertson.
She’s tried the gym and medical treatments, but nothing helped as much as pole fitness. “I was going [to the gym] at least an hour to two hours four times a week, only getting relief while I was there. I have complete relief now, so I’m doing a lot better,” says Robertson.
And as a nurse, Windham knows what helps her with her pain relief, and now she’s able to tell patients how well exercise works to manage pain. “To actually be the person that experiences pain relief and kind of watches this transformation in my body and helps with my self-image and confidence it's a completely different testimony,” says Windham.