Move your body

Written by Leigh Neely
Writer: Leigh Neely photos: Fred Lopez

Exercise doesn’t have to be a regimen at a gym—maybe you just need to move more during your busy day.

Exercise is anything that elevates your heart rate and takes your body outside its comfort zone. It doesn’t have to be done in a gym or with a class. Constant movement for a set time is good, and remember, you must do it regularly.

The key is to exercise whenever you can. The recent popularity of apps and devices that count steps made people more aware of movement and the need for it. If you can get in 10,000 steps a day, you know you’re doing well. However, regularly getting up from your desk and walking around during your workday also is good for you.

Whether you’re at home or at work or doing something you enjoy, you can be burning calories. To accurately determine the number of calories you have burned, you have to use your body weight. For example, a 130-pound person will burn 354 calories per hour swimming leisurely, while a 205-pound person will burn 558.

Step by step at home
Walk your dog or someone else’s
Do your own yardwork
Use a hand basket when grocery shopping
Wash your car
March in place while brushing your teeth
Stay in motion while doing housework
Wash windows and glass doors
Always walk to get the mail
Answer the phone in the room you’re not in
Pace while talking on the phone

Let’s dance
Dancing burns from 250 to 450 calories per hour, depending on your weight and level of activity.
Belly dancing
Irish ceili
Line dancing
Pole dancing


Linda Bitterly, of The Villages, formerly taught a beginning ballet class at The Villages Lifelong Learning College, now closed, and currently teaches two tap classes. Dancing is a wonderful way to keep your body moving without feeling restricted to an exercise program, she says.

“If you’ve never taken ballet, you need to start with a beginning ballet class. It gives you correct posture and correct movement, like bending the knees,” Linda says. “It’s a wonderful way of stretching your body and doing movement to slow music as opposed to the fast music used in aerobics.”

Ballet lessons begin with students at the barre with one hand on it.

“Eventually, you move away from the barre, and that’s when you really learn balance. You use all your joints, and you’re able to look in the mirror and see if you’re doing it correctly,” Linda says. “It’s actually good movement if you’re recovering from some orthopedic surgeries.”

Linda says the tap classes are much harder on the body. “You must have no problems with the discs in your back or in your hips or knees, because you’re pounding with the tap dancing and that’s hard on the joints.”

Marci Palmer teaches Zumba classes in Wildwood. However, the community center there is being renovated, so the class currently meets at 5:30pm Tuesdays at the Oxford Community Building.

“Zumba is a Latin-based dance fitness class, and people love to dance,” Marci says. “The music inspires the movement, and they enjoy moving to the music so much they forget they’re exercising for an hour.”

Wax on, wax off
You can burn from 236 to 931 calories per hour, depending on the level of activity and your weight, with martial arts.
Tai chi
Tae kwon do

How to succeed in business
Typing: 80 calories per hour; sitting, light office work, 123; walking slowly, 207
Pace while talking on the phone
Leave your desk once an hour for a short walk
Take the long way to the bathroom
Park in the space farthest from the entrance
Walk around the block whenever you can
Walk to a coworker’s desk instead of using email
Have a walking meeting
Set a time to remind yourself to leave your desk and walk
Always take the stairs
Pace in a waiting room
Power walk everywhere
Use a standing desk

Sports center
Treading water fast, 590 calories per hour; rowing, 210; softball or baseball, 352; shuffleboard, 245; lawn bowling, 136
Treading water
Moderate swimming
Volleyball (court or beach)
Lawn bowling
Kickball games (about 420 calories per hour)

Joe Kelly heads up a kickball league in The Villages and says playing kickball takes you back to those days in elementary school and gym class. “It’s good exercise, but it’s not continuous. You run fast, then you walk, and you may stand around awhile, but it’s fun,” Joe says. “We’re very informal and relaxed, and we’re here to have fun. We usually have 35 to 40 people and two games going.” Competition is light, and the emphasis is on fun. “This is what I did 40 or 50 years ago, and it’s fun to be doing it again now.”

Just for fun
Hula hoop (7 calories per minute)
Play tag (160 calories in 30 minutes)
Shoot hoops (150 calories in 30 minutes)
Play catch (around 176 calories per hour)
Tetherball (136 calories in 30 minutes)
Roller skating (around 548 calories per hour)
Cardio drumming (around 600 calories per hour)

Cindy Duncan, who lives in The Villages, kept receiving videos from a friend in Michigan about cardio drumming. Eventually, she was convinced it was worth a try. The first class had seven people. “Once we got into a recreation center, our biggest class was 58,” Cindy says. “You drum to the music and exercise while you’re doing it. One of my friends calls it ‘stealth exercise,’ but I really work up a sweat.” To make your drum, you need a big plastic tub with rope handles. An exercise ball is placed inside it, and you drum away the calories.

About the author

Leigh Neely

Leigh Neely began her writing career with a weekly newspaper in the Florida panhandle, where she not only did the writing but delivered the papers to the post office and dispensers. She has been writing ever since for a variety of newspapers and magazines from New Jersey to Leesburg. With her writing partner, Jan Powell, Leigh has published two novels as Neely Powell.

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