Enjoy fresh air and exercise on the square

Cindy Whitmore, left, of the Village of Pine Ridge, and Fran Como, of the Village of Charlotte, participate in cardio drumming at Lake Sumter Landing.

If you've been looking for new ways to get in shape, The Villages Recreation and Parks Department would like to introduce you to some over the next few months.

And you get to experience the classes outside.

The fun kicks off with cardio drumming led by Cindy Duncan, which will take place from 9 to 10 a.m. Tuesday at Lake Sumter Landing Market Square.

The event is free, but registration is requested so the recreation department can get an idea as to how many will show up. To register online, head to districtgov.org, click on "Departments," then "Recreation," then "Socials."

The group's "drum" is a 65-cm exercise ball sitting on top of a 17-gallon bucket.

"It's not a drum-drum," Duncan said. "Drumming is a means to exercise."

For those who don't have a "drum" yet, they can come to the event with wooden spoons or drumsticks to tap along to the beat.

"It's like stealth exercise," said Duncan, of the Village of Glenbrook. "You don't realize you're exercising, then you're doing more and more of what you're doing."

During the session, they start out beating on the drum, which can lead to either marching or jumping along while playing.

"Very few people jump through the class," Duncan said. "It's pretty intense."

Her cardio drumming group meets at 11:30 a.m. Wednesdays at Lake Miona Regional Recreation Complex and 12:30 p.m. Fridays at Eisenhower Regional Recreation Complex.

"When I'm looking at the class, it's fun the see everybody smiling and moving," Duncan said. "They tell me it's one of the best things for them. It's also just fun."

On Nov. 9, residents can learn how to hula-hoop, followed by urban soul line dancing on Dec. 14, and Tai Chi on Jan. 11. February's event is to be determined. In March is interval training, followed by energy meditation in April and Qigong in May.

All events through March will start at 9 a.m. and will be at Lake Sumter Landing. For March, April and May, the events will start at 8 a.m.

"When you're used to having a class in one atmosphere, it's nice for a change of environment," said Yajairia Perez, recreation supervisor for lifestyle events. "The instructors are excited to bring it out on the square."

The idea for these outdoor events is to give residents a chance to take a trial run on a particular exercise group.

"It could be a new or existing resident who want to try a class, but it's full and they can't get in," Perez said. "This gives them opportunities to try something new, to broaden their usual interests."

Two of the events new to the square include the urban soul line dancing, as well as an energy meditation group in April 2022.

Sandi Bergheimer and Gayle Archie have been running the Rhythm and Soul Urban Line Dance group for about five years. It meets at 12:30 p.m. Tuesdays at Burnsed Recreation Center and Wednesdays at La Hacienda Regional Recreation Complex.

The group learns different line dance moves set to Motown music both past and present.

"I'm looking forward to show people that anybody can line-dance," said Bergheimer, of the Village of Hadley. "It's a great way to exercise. You don't really feel like you're exercising because of the music. I want people to smile and have a good time. When you put music on, that usually happens."

She is looking to have more men join the fun of dancing.

"Exercise is important," Bergheimer said. "If you're not moving now, as you get older, you won't be moving then. Being an ex-nurse, I know how important that is."

Staff Writer Michael Fortuna can be reached at 352-753-1119, ext. 5273, or michael.fortuna@thevillagesmedia.com.