USM Employees Dance for Their Health

The University of Southern Mississippi is offering free dance classes to its employees as part of an initiative to encourage healthier lifestyles and welcome new dance lovers.

This spring, staff and faculty members with high body-mass indexes, high blood pressure or high cholesterol or glucose levels could apply for the campus-wide Health is Golden program. The first 100 accepted employees received free gym memberships with personal training sessions, plus regular appointments with dietitians.

This month, participants can learn ballroom dance as a way to fulfill the program’s suggested exercise regimen of 3–5 workouts per week. Rebecca Chandler, a USM alum, will lead beginner classes in waltz, fox-trot, tango, rumba, cha-cha and East Coast Swing. “I think it’s hard for people to exercise sometimes, because they haven’t found an activity they truly enjoy,” said Jodi Ryder, health education and promotion director, Student Health Services. Hopefully the classes will catch on, since dance is one of the most fun ways we know to work up a sweat!

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