By Brie Cadman, DivineCaroline
It used to be that exercise classes were primarily concerned with helping you burn as many calories as possible; any fun or entertainment they provided were mere side benefits. Now a wide variety of classes want to help you forge a mind-body connection while making you work up a sweat. And one of the biggest trends in this arena are workouts that aim to help exercisers look and feel sexy, no matter what their body type or size. Although all exercise can help improve your sex life—think cardiovascular fitness and increased awareness and acceptance of your body—the following workouts go a step further. Designed to boost self-confidence, to tap into your sensual side, and to make sweating fun, these workouts will help you lose yourself in movement while shedding a pound or two.
Cardio Striptease, aka, Strip Aerobics
The idea of completely stripping during a group workout probably isn’t going to appeal to the masses, but despite its name, this workout won’t leave you buck naked in front of a bunch of strangers. Popularized a few years ago but still rife with devotees, cardio striptease focuses on stripper-like moves, using low-impact cardio moves to hone self-confidence and boost sex appeal, regardless of size or shape. Practitioners emphasize that the workouts are designed to be fun and that they help women lose not only their inhibitions but hopefully some unwanted wiggle as well. People can choose to exercise in heels and boas or in simple workout clothes.
A kissing cousin to cardio striptease, pole dancing’s allure is based on the slow, sensual moves of a paid dancer. In addition to having a risqué reputation, pole dancing is also a great workout. Think about it—holding up one’s own weight while straddling a pole takes some serious strength. And strength work and spinning around the pole not only burn serious calories, they’ll tone and sculpt, particularly your upper body. Even more, classes are intended to make women feel both sexy and empowered.
A Latin-inspired dance-fitness program, Zumba is all about having a good time and letting the music move you. In fact, if you join the Zumba trend, you’ll become part of what is known as the “fitness party.” Set to high-energy music, the low-impact dance moves are accessible to all ages and sizes. Recently Zumba has spun off from its main dance-centric classes to classes that cater to different interests and age groups—Zumba Gold for the baby boomers, Zumba Toning for body sculpting, Aqua Zumba for those who need low-impact exercise, and even a class for kids. All the workouts are designed to get you dancing and grooving to music and above all to have fun.
A workout that focuses on setting music to the shimmy and sway of a woman’s hips and revealed abdomen—what could be more sensual? Although belly dancing has been around for centuries, its popularity as a form of exercise has grown in recent years with the rise of specific belly dance classes and belly fusion, the latter of which combines modern dance with belly dancing. Both will tighten the core muscles, hips, and glutes. With some dedication, you’ll even be able to target those deep, hard-to-reach transverse abdominal muscles. Women of all sizes have traditionally performed belly dancing, shaking everything they’ve got in midriff-baring costumes. Although regular workout clothes are the choice for many classes, the seductive moves are designed to energize both the body and mind and to leave you more comfortable with bare belly moves in the future.
Dance of the Kama Sutra
The Kama Sutra is an ancient Indian text that focuses on love, sex, and sensuality and their central role in our everyday lives. Melding this idea with dance, yogini and Indian classical dance instructor Hemalayaa has made it into an at-home workout called Dance of the Kama Sutra that focuses on creating awareness of the body through simple, sensual stretching steps. It’s less about learning how to entice a partner and more about connecting with the inner divine. For those looking for a more intense workout, she also serves up the Bollywood Dance Workout and Bollywood Burn, which blend aerobics with the musical dance of a Bollywood film. The saucy and sassy dance moves are set to bhangra for a full-body workout.