Exercise is important. If you don’t have a consistent practice of being active and working out, you’re missing out on these great benefits:
- Greater body confidence
- Improved body awareness
- Better overall health
- Greater mobility
- More energy
- Better sleep
- More balanced hormones
- Enhanced mood
- Increased strength and endurance
- Better mental health
- A physically improved sex life
- Improved overall well-being
If that isn’t enough to convince you, then I don’t know what is!
But here’s the thing…
HOW you go about exercising is just as important as the exercise itself.
If you’re over 40 years old and aren’t following these simple guidelines, you may be sabotaging the very benefits you’re trying to achieve. The transition to menopause (peri-menopause) can begin in women as early as 35 years old, and with these changes in hormone levels, women’s bodies are more vulnerable to the effects of stress (physically and hormonally).
Therefore, the way you exercise can impact you differently than it did before. Being mindful and respectful of your body’s changing needs is key to continuing with exercise and achieving the benefits from it.
Here are some exercise guidelines:
Less is more
If you believe in the adage of “no pain, no gain”, in pushing yourself to the limit or you do strenuous exercise for longer than 45 minutes, then you’re doing more harm than good.
While exercise is mostly good for you, it’s a physical stress on the body. The longer and harder you push, the greater the stress. As you age, your body’s ability to recover takes longer. And the closer you get to menopause, the higher your cortisol levels. Cortisol is your main stress hormone. Because of the increase in cortisol, over-exercising is like adding gasoline to the fire. Increased cortisol levels worsen PMS symptoms as well as symptoms of peri-menopause and none of that helps you to feel sexy.
Not to mention that extended and/or strenuous workouts can deplete you of energy instead of providing it. If you do too much, you’ll also be too physically exhausted to have sex!
In addition, the longer you go, the greater the chance of injury. That’s because prolonged exercise can lead to muscle fatigue, the wrong muscles compensating for it and thereby creating muscle imbalances that can lead to injury.
Suggestion: Keep moderate-to-hard workouts under 45 minutes and HIITs (High-Intensity Interval Training) to less than 20 minutes. Keeping within these time frames will ensure the benefits without undermining them.
Get enough sleep
“Sleep is the holy grail. My trainer says if you’re tired, your workout will suffer. Sleep is magic stuff.” ~ Kate Beckinsale
I fully admit to not being a morning person, but I would still argue that dragging yourself out of bed and doing a workout when you’re tired, is not in your best interest. If the only time you can do it is in the morning, then get to bed earlier so that getting up early to exercise doesn’t compromise your sleep.
Sleep can become elusive as you get older. Just when you get through the years that your kids kept you up all night, you now have teenagers stressing you out and fluctuating hormones that make it difficult to fall asleep and/or stay asleep.
Sleep is a deal breaker.
If you don’t get enough sleep, you’re going to be tired and irritable, you’ll reduce the effectiveness of your workouts, increase your risk of injury, negatively affect your hormone balance and have zero desire for sex.
Suggestion: Always make sure to get adequate sleep. Along with sex, sleep should be at the top of your priority list. That’s why your bedroom should be for sleep and sex only.
Slow is sexy
To get the most out of your workouts, slow and controlled movement is the way to go about it. That’s because when you slow down, you can focus better on the mind-body connection of each exercise. This will make your workouts more efficient and effective.
Furthermore, fast or ballistic movements make it harder to maintain good form and easier for you to injure yourself, especially if you have underlying muscle imbalances or previous injuries. These are more common the longer you’ve been working out.
The goal is to slow down.
Slowing down creates more calm, allows you to experience more pleasure in your life and provides the greatest experience of sex.
Why not apply this mindset to your workouts?
Suggestion: Incorporate some slow and mindful activities into your routine. Exercises such as yoga, walking, or tai chi are gentle movement done with intention. They are still effective but safer because speed is not a factor in them.
Keep it balanced and varied
A balanced life creates calm and keeps you grounded and motivated. A balanced exercise regime can do the same. That’s because it provides a wide array of workouts/activities to help you to feel good, maintain your interest and keep your muscles guessing. I’m sure you’ve heard the saying…
Variety is the spice of life.
This doesn’t just apply to your sex life. When you switch things up (I’m talking workouts, not partners!), you enjoy it more. People who do the same type of exercises day in and day out will notice that they reach a plateau. They’ll also notice that they get repetitive stress injuries. But equally important is that they’ll get bored. If sex or exercise becomes boring, you’re not as likely to want to do them.
Suggestion: Try to change it up with the seasons and also try new things. How about dance? Not only is it a good workout, but it allows you to connect with your body in a more feminine way. Ballet, belly dancing and pole dancing are some truly feminine options.
Embrace your feminine figure
Women naturally have more body fat and curves than men. Men’s bodies are more angular and muscular. That’s why women have figures and men have physiques.
Men’s and women’s bodies aren’t meant to look alike. They’re meant to be different.
Physical attraction between the sexes lies in the differences between them, not in their sameness.
The current body type trend for women is not just fit and athletic, but overly lean and muscular. There’s nothing wrong with that if that’s your natural body type, but keep in mind that the more muscular a woman becomes, the more masculine her appearance becomes. Just as too much testosterone therapy can create virilizing effects in women, too many muscles can create a masculinized physique.
Suggestion: Forget the trends and just be the best version of your body. Love your feminine form and exercise to enhance it, not to change it. I believe the goal of exercise should be for strength and endurance, and to be physically able to do whatever you want. Not to be able to bench press more than a man. Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.
Go with the flow
I’m talking about your menstrual cycle. When women try to do everything a man can do, they’re not taking into consideration that men and women are different— physically, mentally and hormonally.
Men’s hormones follow a 24-hour schedule, while women’s hormones follow a monthly cycle.
Thinking that you can exercise the same way every day, regardless of where you are in your cycle, is not respecting your body. Even more than that, you’re actually working against your body.
Suggestion: The week prior to your period, go easy on the workouts and incorporate more gentle movement instead. The same applies to the first week of menstruation. Work with your hormones, not against them.
Take rest days
This was a hard lesson for me and one that I learned only after a knee injury.
You can’t keep pushing the body without also balancing it with rest.
Muscle repair happens when you’re not working out, so if you’re always exercising, then when is it going to do that? Not taking a day off doesn’t allow for the body to heal.
Also, you don’t want to burn yourself out so that you’re too sore and too exhausted to have sex! Just saying.
Suggestion: Weekends are the perfect time to catch up on your rest and recuperate… and improve your relationship.
Engage those glutes
Gluteus or “glutes” is the anatomical term for your derriere or “booty.”
Not only is a booty that’s in great shape nice to look at, but it’s an important physical asset to have. (See what I just did there?) haha
So much attention is focused on the core, and core strength is important because it stabilizes the whole body, BUT if you ignore your glutes, you aren’t providing the stability that your lower body needs.
Poor glute strength and activation can cause decreased hip mobility, lower back pain, knee pain, plantar fasciitis, ankle issues, tight psoas muscles, and groin and hamstring pulls to name a few. None of those are sexy.
A strong booty is a sexy booty.
Suggestion: If you’re doing any exercise involving your lower body, focus on your glutes. If you make sure that they’re engaged you may sidestep the injuries listed above. The other great thing about working those glutes is that you can enhance your booty. You can either build up a small booty or firm up a bigger one. No matter how you shake it, it’s always a bonus to have a great ass!
You can exercise until the cows come home, but if you still don’t feel comfortable in your body, then that’s not going to bode well for your sex life.
Your sexiness has little to do with how you look and everything to do with how you think and feel about yourself.
You don’t have to have the perfect body to be sexy.
Yes, exercise is an excellent way to boost confidence in your body and it’s abilities, but you also need to have sexual confidence to make the most of it.
Suggestion: Exercise to reap the benefits it provides, but don’t be obsessive about it. Leave time to do other things that also boost your confidence, take care of you and give you pleasure.
REMEMBER: A sexy woman loves her body and takes good care of herself.
Photo Credit: stock.adobe.com/ arvin