Pole dancers in Mexico have taken to the streets to celebrate their sport and show others the skills involved.

The Pole Dance National Day celebration saw pole dancers gather in parks, outdoor gyms and on streets, using street lamps, sign posts and other objects to put on displays across Mexico City.

Pole dancing, or Pole Fitness, is becoming an increasingly popular sport in Mexico, with many people seeing it as a means to improve their strength and fitness.

The Urban Dance Pole day has now been running for three years and it aims to take away the sleazy stigma often attached to pole dancing.

At first, there were just three places teaching pole dancing in the city but there are now 55, sinembargo.mx reports.

Yenifer Burgos, head of Pole Fitness Balance, told Mexico's Notimex news agency that the aim of the day was to show pole dancing as a non-erotic sport: "With this we try to make people realise that this is not just a dance performed by exotic dancers in nightclubs, but it is a sport that requires a high level of strength, concentration and agility to do stunts.

"This certainly is a sport, it's nothing more a dance, the first thing is the arms and strengthens the abdomen, and if you combine the pole with a good diet, no doubt you can have a healthy life."

Burgos said that while the majority of Mexico's pole dancing enthusiasts are currently women, more and more men are participating, and the stunts they perform are extremely demanding.

Pole fitness enthusiast Alberto Osorio said people are starting to realise the sport is no longer exclusively related to the sex industry and that there is already a Mexican Pole Fitness Federation, which is looking to make it an Olympic event.

Erandi Montes, one of the organisers of the event, told vanguardia.com: "What we show is that it is a different exercise and is not about removing clothes in places that people associated [with pole dancing]."