RALEIGH: Sexercise provides more than physical fitness

Sexercise provides more than physical fitness

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Physical and mental health are both benefits of traditional exercise, but there can be hidden benefits as well in other non-traditional ways to get fit.

One particular exercise, pole dancing fitness, is trending among women of all ages and sizes.

At Turn Me Loose Fitness, the women who participate aren’t just losing weight, they’re gaining empowerment.

Before owner Cassandra Wyko opened Turn Me Loose, she had lots of excuses like many other women to not exercise. Some women used their age as an excuse or being a single parent.

Wyko was heavier than she wanted to be, she was close to financial bankruptcy and her marriage was on the rocks.

“I was at a point where I didn't feel that feminine anymore. I was at that, what I call an ‘it’ person”, says Wyko.

That’s when a friend invited her to a pole fitness class.

“I started noticing as I began to get physically active my mindset kind of changed,” Wyko says.

Now her marriage is stronger than ever and her husband, Dennis, even helps out at the studio.

But for Wyko, it was all a gradual change, something that many of her clients can relate to.

“Coming here, I was reluctant because I thought I just couldn't do this, and after a while, you just start to see the feminine side come back out and it's really helped me a lot," says Grace Itcho, a TML client who’s been doing pole fitness for about a year.

Marriage and family therapist Joy Brunson-Nsubuga says even if it’s just one partner making changes, it can still have a positive impact on the overall relationship.

“If you're doing something and something's changing, come home and share it, share it with your partner. Share the good, the bad, and let them be a part of that with you,” she says.

And it’s not just marriage relationships that can be strengthened; many women find they grow closer to each other.

“They're sort of exposing and baring that side of themselves and they start connecting in a way that the feelings are raw almost as far as who they are generally," says Wyko. “Other women are seeing that vulnerability in each other so they're not intimidated by each other and then they start supporting each other and then they become friends."

The fitness class like the one offered at Wyko’s center provides a certain atmosphere that allows a woman’s outer and inner strengths to come together and thrive.

“There’s acallisthenicc component that people don't take into consideration when they think about pole fitness,” says Sharonda Jackson. “It is not easy. We're in here sweating."

And it’s not just about strengthening your body; it’s also about strengthening the mind and soul.

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