International Women’s Day Can Be Any Day

March brings many events to our attention. Women’s History Month, International Women’s Day (IWD), St. Patrick’s Day, and March Madness are just a few well-known commemorative dates. According to the National Day Calendar, there’s more where that came from and it’s hard not to relate to these initiatives. They all share a common base, to recognize actions to be made aware of and/or to celebrate those who have made an impact.

Zumba instructors Jen Gilmore, left, and Felice Merzel Danielson, Zumba Fitness Instructor & PoundFit Instructor at ZING Fitness Zumba studio are putting the fun into fitness for residents of The Summit of Plantsville, CT.

IWD is both a shout out to all women achievers and those that make the world a better place. In Southington, two individuals have been doing just that. Zumba instructors Jen Gilmore and Felice Merzel Danielson, Zumba Fitness Instructor & PoundFit Instructor at ZING Fitness Zumba studio provide exercise for inbound patient/residents of The Summit in Plantsville.

The idea came about as a way to bring variety of exercise to folks that typically have a routine in place. “The residents are waiting for us, the dancing ladies, at the door,” Gilmore said. “We wanted to bring Zumba to patients at The Summit, because exercise can help in many more ways than just physical,” added Danielson. “It’s about connecting with people and being social, that can really help improve the quality of someone’s day. We call it ‘Zingfit Zumba through the ages’ at The Summit because it’s something everyone can do!” Classes held at The Summit take place Friday mornings at 9:30 am.

The Summit At Plantsville is short-term rehabilitation, long-term, respite, hospice and dementia care facility. The Zumba classes add fun to physical activity, with lively music and movements. Safety is well accounted for, says Danielson, with Occupational Therapists present during sessions. “We modify the sets according to ability of each participant.”

Gilmore and Danielson share their story here: Their actions are a reminder that putting your best intentions into the world can be something that happens everyday, if you want it to. The theme for IWD is #BeBoldForChange. The next time you see something you’d like to change, remember it only takes one step, one action to affect change. Why not start there?

For ZING Fitness Zumba class schedules and costs use email: or visit their Facebook page for more information.





Notes From The Pavement

I’m running again, albeit slowly. Today’s route of 3.16 miles took me longer than I’ve done it previously, in my ‘better shape’ days. That’s to be expected. When you slack off for two years and find your way back to the pavement, it doesn’t matter how long it takes.

Honestly I didn’t really even take note of the time exactly. It had to be about 5:15 – 5:20 when I started. Thoughts I notice are typical: how exposed am I to a loose dog? I had just started to run when I hear a pooch crying. I turned around and saw a lab, sitting outside calling to its owner. I’m always just a bit wary that the animal will stir by the sight of a human, compared to the steady flow of traffic.

Doing intervals is good. There’s no guilt if I stop running to regulate breathing. There’s always the next mailbox post to run towards after pacing with long, walking strides. I noticed one homeowner took to the afternoon to remove their Christmas decorations in March, just in time for St. Patty’s Day.


Savage St. Loop – Southington, CT

Garbage seems to be all over the road. Not just discarded soda bottles, but floss sticks and flattened metal pieces of indistinguishable objects gone rusty. Cigarette butts make me want to run faster, but my legs feel heavy. To my surprise the end of the loop was in sight. It’ll be nice when the grass turns green and the weather gets warmer. In the meantime, one day of exercise is one step closer to health.



Mobile Apps = Good User Experience

Lately there’s been much talk at the office about eating healthy. I work for a company that produces safety messages in print and flash media. The graphic communications are sold B2B via monthly subscriptions. I guess you can say the company is an advocate for businesses to stay on track with compliance and other workplace issues.

Weight limits in any setting are something that if overlooked can be hazardous to your health. Take a trucker for example. If materials aren’t loaded properly tipping or rollovers can occur as well as any number of negative effects on the vehicle itself: flat tire, strain on brakes, etc.

The weight issues I’m referring to are bodily pounds. Whether you work in an office environment sitting in a cubicle for eight hours daily or you drive a truck for hours on end, the state of your health will be invariably affected by that much inertia. The need for exercise and good nutrition is as important as the very employment that sustains you. Health, I’ve determined is a very personal choice and it ultimately is up to each individual if they want to be healthier.

My company started a ‘get fit’ challenge and the initiative is one that can be applied to any worker. Since so many people have mobile phones, the idea of using readily available apps to eat healthier is right within reach.

Here’s how using mobile technology could make you healthier. A worker wonders what to eat for lunch because she’s forgotten to brown bag healthier choices than what nearby fast food restaurants offer, (or the trucker really doesn’t want to eat another hamburger from McDonald’s).

While there many apps that can tell you what eatery is within your location, a person will need to actually think about the food choices they make. Take the trucker. If McDonald’s is the only restaurant choice there is for the next fifty miles, it’s not the only choice for food. Instead of eating at a restaurant, why not search for grocery stores in the same fifty-mile radius?  While grocery stores may not have prepared meals, they will have healthier food choices. The question arises, at what cost to one’s health does convenience have over exerting some effort towards better food choices?

The app Fooducate is free and available on Android and IPhone systems and users can learn about food labeling, what constitutes nutrition and what brands offer the best bang for the buck. This is really useful information. Even if the trucker decides to eat at McDonald’s, using an app like Fooducate, a user can tailor a ‘fast-food’ order to better suit healthier choices. For example McDonald’s offers two selections for a chicken snack wrap – they are grilled or crispy. Yes the crispy make taste better but it’s more fattening due how it’s prepared – deep-fried. The grilled chicken will have fewer calories due to no coating or deep fry in oils.  I purposely selected McDonald’s not to knock it, but because it has been traditionally known for its fast food.  What I’m advocating is that McDonald’s does offer choices. Ultimately everything a person eats is their choice. Shouldn’t what you fuel your body with be a known substance? Anyone is free to order a snack wrap without the chicken all together or ask for extra vegetables and eliminate the cheese would also be an option.


Basically mobile, computer and tablet apps are already out there for any user to tap into. The real question to ask is how are we using the technology to make better choices? Some organizations are slower to adopt technology.

Take the Department of Motor Vehicles for example. The DMV has always had an unfavorable reputation when it comes to customer service. While horrendous long lines are just one of DMV’s notable traditions, many offices have upgraded to some 21st century technologies like renewing registration, which can be done online. Even the Department of Internal Revenue Service has integrated online technology giving many an added convenience, e-filing, even though the deadlines are still the same.

The trick to any user experience is to remain open to the possibilities that combine smarts with convenience. Users shouldn’t forfeit good choices in lieu of those that may seem to make our lives easier.