Archive for October, 2011

The Healthy Communities Coalition of Windham County is an initiative of the Meeting Waters YMCA that’s focused on strengthening support for access to healthy food and routine physical activity. Recently, Grace Cottage Hospital has been working with the coalition to “make the healthy choice the easy choice” for employees, patients and visitors.
Grace Cottage Hospital employees completed a Community Healthy Living Assessment designed to assess programs, the physical environment and policies related to healthy living and to assist in planning improvement strategies here in Townshend.

“Healthy lifestyles are much easier to maintain in supportive environments,” said Grace Cottage’s Senior Director of Rehabilitation and Wellness Crystal Mansfield. “It was through a series of detailed questions and answers, followed by extensive discussions, that Grace Cottage Hospital’s employees realized that there were some immediate, relatively easy changes that could be made at the hospital to further encourage healthy lifestyles.”

The first improvement took place in the cafeteria lunch line. It has been rearranged so the salad bar is now first, followed by the hot food buffet.

“The first change we made may sound small,” said Denise Choleva, Grace Cottage’s Dietary Manager, “but it’s actually made a huge impact here. Now people fill up on healthy items like lettuce, vegetables, fruits and nuts. By the time they get to the hot buffet, they don’t have much room on their plates.”

Other changes made in the kitchen include the elimination of potato chips and soda. The funds that were being used to purchase these items are now being used to buy local, fresh foods. And the changes won’t stop there.

“Additional changes are being planned,” said Mansfield, “and we’re very excited and pleased that the Healthy Communities Coalition of Windham County has been chosen as a national model by YMCA of the USA.”

Here’s an excerpt about the assessment and planning process at Grace Cottage Hospital from the coalition’s video “Bright Spots: Stories from the Healthy Communities Coalition”. Watch their full video here.

To learn more about what’s changing at Grace Cottage, become a fan on Facebook and follow @gracecottagevt on Twitter.

It’s hard for a lot of us to get motivated about a new exercise regime. Even if you have a workout buddy, what happens when they can’t make it? Do you skip the gym to avoid going alone? What if you could get the motivational benefit of group classes and get a powerful workout, but feel like you’re at a dance party with your friends? You can. It’s called Zumba — the Latin-infused fitness party — and here’s a chance to try it out right here at Grace Cottage Hospital.

Zumba crowd
Zumba Festivals draw big crowds to the workout party. Photo: Simon Schoeters (Cimm) on Flickr.

Forget what you know about exercise. Who cares what you know about dancing. The Zumba workout combines easy-to-follow moves with invigorating Latin music, creating a fitness program that’s both effective and enjoyable. This workout is appropriate for all ages and accommodates any fitness level. The only requirements are comfy clothes, low tread sneakers, a water bottle and the ability to have fun.

Carrie Goldsmith is a certified Zumba instructor.

Zumba has become a hugely popular workout routine that’s featured in fitness centers, community gyms and even nightclubs around the world. There are even Zumba festivals and workout concerts where groups of thousands participate to get fit and have fun. The workout is led by a Zumba instructor who cheers you through the dance moves as they call them out. It’s like a big game of Simon Says, but with the benefits of a fitness class.

Grace Cottage Hospital’s Wellness Center periodically hosts six- to eight-week classes, so check out the Wellness Calendar for the latest schedule.

Classes typically meet on Tuesday or Thursday nights. Fee: $60 for six-week, $80 for four-week; $13.00 drop-in fee.

Taught by certified Zumba instructor Carrie Goldsmith, this has quickly become one of the Wellness Center’s most popular offerings. The class is limited to 20 participants so call 802-365-3649 to pre-register right away.