By Mercy's Bethany Pope
MIDWEST, U.S. – There are a million phrases to describe it: cutting a rug, getting a groove on, jumping and jiving, boot scootin’. No matter what it’s called, dance is fun, AND it’s healthy.
Across seven states, Mercy is encouraging co-workers to Move It, Groove It for the sake of fitness during May’s Global Employee Health and Fitness month.
“Whether you moonwalk, jitterbug or line dance, moving to music is always a great way to stay on top of your game,” said Dr. Lance Luria, Mercy’s health and wellness vice president and medical director. “When you’re dancing, you forget you’re exercising. But you’re building balance, burning calories and de-stressing. What could be better?”
And not unlike the Sisters of Mercy, who embody an ability to serve with an uncanny sense of joy, dance is essential to living life fully. “Dance every evening” was scribbled atop a letter written by Sisters of Mercy Founder Catherine McAuley in the 1800s. That legacy lives on today with Sisters of Mercy across the globe, including Sister Mary Roch Rocklage, who has long served as a leader in health care and is living proof of why being active keeps people young.
“I love to dance,” said Sister Roch, who did a jig along with others in a music rap video, Mercy Move It, Groove It. “It’s a joyous way to celebrate life, and it gets your blood pumping.”
The video celebrates “Healthification,” Mercy’s wellness program, which is designed to encourage well-balanced, healthy lifestyles through nutrition, physical activity, emotional and spiritual wellness, and smoking cessation.
And for many, it’s not about dancing with the expertise of “Dancing With the Stars” but more about breaking a sweat.
“I'm a terrible dancer and I still got a great workout,” said Jody Brillhart, a social worker at Mercy Hospital Fort Scott in Kansas, after participating in Mercy’s dance video.
Others echo that sentiment.
“There was craziness, excitement, laughter and exercise,” said Linda Earnest, physical therapy aide at Mercy Hospital Watonga in Oklahoma. “After filming the video, we were all talking about how it got our heart rates up and how much fun it was.”
For Michelle Burns, a Mercy massage therapist in Springfield, Mo., where they have a dance party every Friday, dance evens the playing field. “Dance is non-discriminating. It doesn’t matter who you are or what your fitness level is, you can find a beat and just move.”
In celebrating Global Employee Health and Fitness month, Mercy will host free-style dance parties, Zumba, line dancing, ballet and more across Mercy facilities throughout May.
Mercy is the sixth largest Catholic health care system in the U.S. and serves more than 3 million people annually. Mercy includes 32 hospitals, 300 outpatient facilities, 38,000 co-workers and 1,900 integrated physicians in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. Mercy also has outreach ministries in Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.
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The Edwardsville Intelligencer - Edwardsville, Ill.