Two and a half years ago, Luci Hagaman was big. She was more than 100 pounds overweight, and she decided to lose it all. By walking.

A year later, she had dropped 125 pounds. Since then, Hagaman has preached her practice with the Egg Harbor Township Recreation Department's indoor walking program Walk Off the Pounds, which is now enrolling for its winter session.

Classes are held twice weekly for eight weeks, with the goal of building up to three miles by the end of the course.

"We do side steps, front kicks, back kicks, anything that moves your feet," Hagaman said. "Within the 40 minutes, our goal is by the sixth and seventh week be walking approximately three miles."

Enrollment will be open Jan. 9, from 9 a.m. to noon and 2 to

8 p.m., but the program will take new members after that date if spots are still available. Enrollment is $65. To register, visit the Recreation Department office at the Egg Harbor Township Community Center at 5045 English Creek Avenue and bring proof of Egg Harbor Township residency.

Hagaman created the class at the behest of Wanda Schafer, assistant to Recreation Director Bob Lincoln. Hagaman put the class together using techniques from exercise videos, and also incorporated her own tweaks.

Cathy Braun is one of the most dedicated members of the class, having completed four cycles. She's hooked by the combination of fun and effectiveness Hagaman's class offers, she said.

"Oh, god, I sweat like crazy," Braun said. "I leave here and I'm in a really good state of mind, and it's been helping. It's been helping a lot."

Braun said she has lost 12 pounds thanks to Hagaman's classes. Additionally, she said, she has developed dramatically better muscle tone and cardiovascular shape.

Braun now has more energy, she said, which has extended to her everyday life.

"When I'm going through my work day, I take the steps more," Braun said. "My pace is a lot faster, so I run through the halls, just about."

The class begins low key, but Hagaman gradually quickens the pace and introduces more strenuous exercises as the sessions continue.

But while the workouts may grow in intensity, Hagaman tells her students to maintain a pace comfortable for them, ensuring that those of all ability levels can participate.

Schafer, who has rheumatoid arthritis, said she had trouble finding an exercise class she could do before enrolling in Walk Off the Pounds.

"This is something that I can actually do, with my arthritis, and again, at my own pace," Wanda said. "I may not be able to keep up with her on days, but there are other days I can go in there and keep up with her."

The Recreation Department is also holding registration for other programs, including tai chi, yoga, cardio kickboxing and weight training. For more information about these and other programs, call 609-272-8120.

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