Tag Archives: Dancing for exercise

feel the heat: from the jungle to the graveyard

Thank you Howard!

My April wild card writer and dear friend Howard Sure, tapped into the absolute best way to lead me to healthy movement and heart racing activities. Dance! Of course! Why not combine my stress reducing coping mechanism of listening to and moving to music to my daily exercise routine for a more enjoyable workout?

Now… I am trying to overlook the fact that I really don’t know how to dance… but I guess that’s where taking the lesson comes in, right? And heck, I didn’t know how to meditate when I started and I didn’t know how to write when I started this blog. Neither of those technical hurdles stopped me from greatly benefiting from practicing both meditating and writing on a daily basis.  So dance it is.

Even though I am not an exercise enthusiast, I have somehow been “raising my heart beat” every morning this month in 20 – 30 minute brisk walks before starting each day. I must emphasize the word brisk here – my walks have been fast paced, invigorating, and downright COLD! Its mid-April (Spring time here in Central PA) and it’s still somehow below freezing temperatures. So this past week, I decided that I needed to heat up my morning meetings with my heartbeat. Dance has been the perfect addition to help me feel the heat.

While on the island, I relaxed into the tropical environment, and became accustomed to the warm and welcoming weather. Here, in my northeastern suburban surroundings, I have to work a little harder to “feel the heat”. So I brought a little Jungle back into my life.

Each morning, I’ve been bringing the heat to my daily routine by taking the music that makes me want to move, on my walks with me. With this particular song, my feet are a little lighter and more playful.  So when the wild card says, “Dance!” Ok no problem I will start dancing!

But how will I fit this into my daily routine? And where will I be able to dance? In my suburban paradise, I don’t get out to dance clubs often, and I have not found even a good place that plays music that I like. I sleep in a very small room with little space to practice personal dance moves and at this point in life, I also have no access to a private dance studio. I already have a hard time finding places to go walking without finding myself in an apartment building parking lot, along a highway or by a fast food drive through.  So where am I going to dance?

In my search for green grass and a car free environment to exercise in, I settled on walking in a beautiful cemetery with walking paths near by. It’s a spot near my mother’s house that I go to daily. It may seem like a strange habit, walking to a cemetery daily, but I find it to be a perfectly peaceful place to exercise and not be bothered. Exercising around other people has never been my thing and I am not a fan of expensive monthly gym bills – so joining a gym is just not the answer for me! I must admit though, exercising in a graveyard is kinda strange and what’s even stranger is the fact that I have now added dance to my morning routine.

Yep, that’s right, I am officially dancing in graveyards now. This may be one of the weirdest things that Living Chapters has led to me do this entire project (well besides the sensory deprivation tank experience)  And as odd as it may sound, I believe dancing in the graveyard, to be the best place to get my dance groove on. I don’t know how you feel about dancing in front of people but I, from time to time, am a bit self-conscious. I think I have to work up to this “take a dance class” challenge.   At least in the cemetery, there are no bystanders (well that are alive) to make me feel bashful or uncomfortable in my skin. And after doing something as ridiculous as dancing in a graveyard, I think I’ll be able to work through all my “embarrassment issues” entirely! However, the best reason I have for dancing in the graveyard, is that it reminds me of the first time that music inspired me to want to dance!

I am a child of the 80’s and was undeniably influenced by Michael Jackson’s music video “Thriller”. He and his dancing zombies scared the heck out of me but also led me to try dancing myself! Truly,there just is no right or wrong way to dance like a zombie, it’s the best way to enter the dancing world unashamed (as far as I am concerned)!  No only is Thriller an extraordinary dance song but it definitely gets my heart racing with its super weird and spooky sound effects! So yes, strangely enough I am starting to feel the heat on these chilly April mornings while also getting my monster mash on!  Who knew dancing with the undead could keep me in shape? What’s the weirdest thing you’ve done to stay in shape?

4/18/14

Just finding this blog today? Read the prologue for more details on what Living Chapters is all about. Check out the Chapter Summaries Page to get caught up to date.