Exercise can emphasize your feminine curves and tone your muscles for a lean, healthy appearance. While men may want to develop big, brawny muscles, women typically shun this look. If you don't want to build large muscles, the good news is that doing this is much more difficult for females, as they don't have the hormones needed to create beefy mass. Use lighter weights and do more repetitions if you don't want to create bulky muscles. Strength training will probably not give you a masculine appearance if you're a woman, but it can increase bone density and therefore lower your risk of osteoporosis.
Perform cardio activities at least 2 1/2 hours per week to manage weight, which is an important factor in achieving a toned body. Divide your exercise sessions so you can meet this goal over the week, but always sustain activity for at least 10 minutes for every cardio session you do. Cardio exercises include swimming, walking briskly and playing softball.
Train in intervals. For example, jog for three minutes at five miles per hour, then run for 30 seconds at eight miles per hour, and repeat. According to the Mayo Clinic, pushing yourself for short spurts will accelerate fat burning and improve aerobic capacity.
Ramp up your cardio as your skill level increases. Add a minute or two to your routine every three to four weeks. Alternatively, increase the duration of your intervals.
Start this exercise that tones the buttocks and legs by standing with your legs just past hip-width apart and your hands at your sides. Keep your chest up.
With your body weight resting on your heels, bend both your hips and knees to lower yourself until your thighs are parallel to the ground. Keep your feet still.
Slowly raise yourself back up, and repeat this exercise for a total of 10 squats. As you advance, hold dumbbells for added resistance.
Isometric Chest Presses
Begin this bust toner by sitting or standing straight up.
Grasp your hands together so that your palms are pressed into one another. Push them together using all of your strength, and hold that position for 12 seconds.
Relax your muscles for a few seconds, and repeat the exercise 10 times.
Start this ab toner by lying on your back with your arms stretched back behind your head.
Lift your legs and bend your torso up at same time until you touch your feet with your hands. Your body should look like the letter V. Pause briefly, and return to the starting position.
Repeat this exercise for a total of eight repetitions. Rest for about a minute and then perform another set.
- Drink plenty of water before, during and after exercise to avoid dehydration. Consult a doctor before beginning an exercise program.
Nina K. is a Los Angeles-based journalist who has been published by USAToday.com, Fitday.com, Healthy Living Magazine, Organic Authority and numerous other print and web publications. She has a philosophy degree from the University of Colorado and a journalism certificate from UCLA.