It's no secret that exercise boosts your mood, jump-starts your sex drive and improves your overall health. But that still doesn't always get you to the gym. So what could be better than a workout that takes your mind off the fact that you're working hard to burn those calories?
"Sexy workouts help us tune into our bodies in a sensual way, so we feel more receptive and more interested in sex," says Marianne Brandon, PhD, a clinical psychologist and sex therapist in Annapolis, Md. Apart from doing the deed itself, these 10 exercises are the sexiest ways to break a sweat. They'll get your heart racing — in more ways than one!
Pole dancingNo longer just for exotic dancers, pole-dancing classes have sprung up around the country — and appear to be here to stay. Private studios and nationwide gym chains alike offer lessons, no experience necessary.
For women with flagging libidos, it can even act as treatment. "I often recommend this with my patients as homework," says Brandon.
Just don't expect it to be a walk in the park! Sessions can involve hours of strength work (how else do you stay on the thing if not for clenched muscles?) and sultry swiveling to upbeat tunes.
Salsa lessonsHit the dance floor for steamy salsa lessons and burn 200 calories in half an hour. You don't need to be a great dancer — classes across the country are full of people of all backgrounds and levels. Plus, a workout where you get to don a flirty dress and racy heels can't be bad!
To really stoke the flame, grab your significant other and take a lesson as a couple. Studies show partners who try something new together reap big benefits both in and out of bed!
Strip aerobics (cardio striptease)You don't have to look like Carmen Electra to test-drive her striptease-as-cardio workout plan. And don't worry — you don't actually take all your clothes off!
This class is more about sexy, stripper-like moves than disrobing — although you can feel free to peel off a sweatshirt or T-shirt, if you want to.
While strip aerobics could still seem intimidating, devotees stress it's fun and sexy at any size or shape. Join a class where a choreographer can help you learn the steps, or slide into some fishnets and pop in a DVD at home — with or without an audience!
Chair dancingChair-dancing workout DVDs seem to have been predominantly relegated to late-night infomercials. But there's a fitness gem buried even in this risqué routine. Gyrating and jiggling is highly encouraged — and the result is tight abs, legs, butts and more.
Many private studios are beginning to incorporate these moves into their pole-dancing or other sultry dance classes.
"I tell (patients) they can then use those skills with their partner at home; they can give it as a gift on Valentine's Day," says Brandon, author of "Monogamy: The Untold Story" and co-author of "Reclaiming Desire: 4 Keys to Finding Your Lost Libido."
Belly dancingWe love the message of this Middle Eastern dancercise: Love your body no matter what. So slip into a slinky hip wrap and shake what you've got to the lively Arabic music. Many major health clubs offer classes that can melt up to 350 calories in an hour!
Plus, for someone who's not quite comfortable swinging around a pole, this can be a more modest way to get into sexy exercising, says Brandon.
Naked yogaNot everyone will warm to the idea of a disrobed Downward Facing Dog. Still, naked yoga studios have popped up around the country.
Fans say losing their clothes makes the relaxing and calming practice even better, allowing them to really celebrate their bodies.
"The more you get to thinking about sex, the more you're going to want to have it," says Brandon. "Sexy workouts set positive expectations and help you feel more tuned into your body."
Plus, many yoga poses — done with or without clothes — open up the hips, thighs, and pelvis, and strengthen key pelvic-floor muscles for deeper and better orgasms.
ZumbaLiterally translated to mean "move fast," this Colombian dance craze has swept fitness groups across six continents! It's a mile-a-minute mix of traditional aerobic moves for maximum heart pumping, sassy Latin shimmies and hip-hop-inspired booty shaking.
Best of all, you don't have to be a pro to join in the party. New participants are encouraged to hang in at their own pace, picking up the moves as they go along.
"It's not a place of competition, like you (might) expect," says Brandon. "It's very supportive for women."
Bollywood DanceIndian-inspired Bollywood dance is also making a sexy splash. A half hour burns about 200 calories, and many of the dances tell stories of romance or lost love, so really get into the part!
If your gym doesn't offer Bollywood or Bhangra classes, there are lots of at-home options. We like "Hemalayaa: Bollywood Booty" for its four backside-shaping routines.
Aerial acrobaticsPopularized by circus acrobats, this workout is slowly moving mainstream. It will definitely take some practice, but learning to slink among bolts of fabric hanging from the ceiling — stretching and strengthening, all while defying gravity — is sure to take your breath away.
Some private studios are now incorporating different types of antigravity movements into their classes, including yoga in midair!
Hula-HoopingThis sport is not just for kids! Get lost in the hypnotic hip swivels of this super-fun belly blaster. Once you get comfortable with the basic how-to, you can mix and match these fun moves for a 30-minute workout that can burn up to 250 calories!
You'll notice more than just the inches you lose when it comes to looking in the mirror. "It makes us feel better about our body image," says Brandon, "and that will lead us to be more interested in physical and sensual activity."
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