This is one of the biggest reasons I've stuck with pole dancing as long as I have. The physical benefits are great, but the feeling you get from mastering a move or expressing a particular emotion is indescribable. Just the other day, I assisted a student in her first climb. It was a huge deal for her and the expression of joy on her face reminded me why I do what I do.
The use of pole for sports and exercise has been traced back at least eight hundred years to the traditional Indian sport of mallakhamb, which utilizes principles of endurance and strength using a wooden pole, wider in diameter than a modern standard pole. The Chinese pole, originating in India, uses two poles on which men would perform "gravity defying tricks" as they leap from pole to pole, at approximately twenty feet in the air, further information can be seen in the old vintage documentary series of mallakhamb, by yasho purush film on YouTube.