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Health and Lifestyle

Health Researcher by Day, UM Grad Spreads Joy at Night by Teaching Salsa

John Salerno_Salsa

John Salerno, left, who has taught and professionally competed for multiple schools of salsa, competed in the 2015 Orlando Salsa Congress with his partner.

Special to UM News

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (August 24, 2016)—By day, John Salerno works to improve health equity among minority populations as a research coordinator at the University of Miami’s School of Nursing and Health Studies. By night, Salerno teaches the fundamentals of LA-Style salsa dancing at the Patti and Allan Herbert Wellness Center.

When Salerno was just 2 years old, his family took a leap of faith and emigrated from Panama during a time of political turmoil and moved to Miami. In 2009 Salerno became an undergraduate student at UM, where he first fell in love with salsa dancing. After learning the basics from friends, Salerno was hooked. He quickly pursued his passion, becoming a professional salsa performer and instructor.

“Dancing salsa has brought so much joy to my life,” says Salerno. “But teaching others to experience the same joy is even more fulfilling.”

Salerno extended his stay at UM to continue his graduate studies, and now the salsa dancer is a full-time research staff member at the UM SONHS Center of Excellence for Health Disparities Research: El Centro, managing projects, programs, and events.

Not only does Salerno believe salsa improves his physical well-being, he also attributes his overall happiness and productivity at work to his favorite pastime. Salsa dancing helps the researcher stay active while having a positive impact in his work and personal life.

“When you dance salsa, endorphins are released in your brain, giving you a greater sense of well-being,” explains Salerno. “You are also burning fat while you dance, and when you look good, you feel good.”

Salerno has been an active member of the Herbert Wellness Center for more than seven years and is glad he can give back in the form of salsa dance instruction.

“We always welcome skilled and certified University employees as our class instructors,” says Michelle Kasparian, assistant director of group exercise and community classes. “As employees, these instructors help us to connect with the University community, and they contribute to a sense of shared values and University pride that is unique to our programs.”

Salerno, who has been teaching salsa for five years, encourages the UM community to try salsa dancing as a fun way to work out and a great way to express and release yourself through the art of dancing with a partner. His Beginner LA-Style salsa class teaches the basics and fundamentals of LA-Style salsa that is sure to get you on the dance floor in Miami and abroad. His class meets on Mondays and Wednesdays from 6:15 to 7:45 p.m. in the Herbert Wellness Center.

Adds Salerno, “This class is perfect for someone who wants to learn to dance and likes to have fun!”

In addition to Beginner LA-Style Salsa, the Herbert Wellness Center offers dance, youth and adult aquatics, martial arts, and tennis classes open to both members and non-members. Registration for these classes begins Monday, August 29 and closes Monday, September 12. Classes begin the week of September 6, and a free trial for each class (first meeting only) is available through September 12, excluding youth aquatics. Registration is not required to attend the free class. Class registration is available online or by visiting the sales office Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.

 

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Get Fit at the Herbert Wellness Center With or Without a Membership

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (August 17, 2016)—The start of the fall semester brings opportunities to set new goals and get started on healthy lifestyle changes. At the Patti and Allan Herbert Wellness Center on the Coral Gables campus, University employees can participate in a variety of programs and services that are offered throughout the year—without the need for a membership.

“Having a vision and setting goals are essential to living a healthy lifestyle,” explains Christina WooChing, who joined the Department of Wellness and Recreation in August as the wellness programs administrator. “If you want to make healthy lifestyle changes, setting a schedule early in the semester and sticking to it will help you reach your goals. Make it a social event by inviting colleagues and participating in our programs together.”

Non-members can enjoy engaging cooking classes as an award-winning cookbook author, Chef Robyn Webb, brings healthy living to the Herbert Wellness Center with her new two-part cooking series as well as stand-alone classes. Taste flavors from around the world and gain hands-on experience from a professional chef who has taught a wide variety of audiences.

“I teach real-life skills,” says Webb. ”You’ll learn the absolute best and necessary cooking techniques that you’ll have the rest of your life, whether you are a beginner or advanced.”

Learn more about the Herbert Wellness Center’s cooking classes by visiting miami.edu/wellness.

Also open to non-members of the facility are group instructional programs, including tennis, dance, martial arts, and youth and adult aquatics. With the exception of youth aquatics, a free week of these engaging and educational classes runs from September 6–12 for participants to try the wide range of classes and find which fits them best. Registration for these classes begins on Monday, August 29 and runs through Monday, September 12. Learn more about each class and how to register at miami.edu/wellness.

Pilates is a frequent favorite of University faculty and staff. A workout that focuses on strengthening the core and increasing flexibility, Pilates classes are available at the Herbert Wellness Center once or twice per week. Registration for these small group classes begins on Monday, August 29 and ends on Wednesday, September 7. Visit miami.edu/wellness for more information.

Don’t worry if you don’t know where to start. The Herbert Wellness Center’s goals-focused infographic can help you find the perfect program for your fitness and wellness needs. Visit miami.edu/wellness for a complete list of programs and services available to those who do not have a membership to the facility.

“Both new and returning ’Canes alike can find the right programs for their fitness and wellness needs,” says Scott Levin, executive director for the Department of Wellness and Recreation. “We are proud to offer programs that support all fitness and ability levels. We want all ’Canes to say, ‘I found my fit at the Herbert Wellness Center!’”

 

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Mindful Living

This Faculty and Staff Assistance Program (FSAP) seminar is offered monthly to explore the basic tenets of mindfulness, review the significance of mindful living, and guide participants through a mindfulness practice. Being mindful increases engagement with the present moment and allows for a clearer understanding of how thoughts and emotions impact our health and the quality of our lives. This month’s seminar will place emphasis on the attitude of “non-judgment.” Attend to awaken your innate capacity for mindful living and nurture a practice to positively inspire every facet of your life. This seminar will be facilitated by a UM FSAP consultant.

Miller School campus: Tuesday, August 30, 12-1 p.m., Dominion Tower, room 301C

Rosenstiel campus: Wednesday, August 31, 12-1 p.m., Library Media room

Coral Gables campus: Thursday, September 1, 12-1 p.m., McKnight Building, room 201AB

FSAP Health and Wellness seminars are offered as part of the University of Miami’s Well ’Canes Program. Register through ulearn.miami.edu. For help with ULearn registration, or to receive email announcements of upcoming seminars, please call the FSAP at 305-284-6604.

 

 

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Workplace Fitness—Fact or Fiction?

This seminar, offered by the Faculty and Staff Assistance Program (FSAP), will engage participants in an honest discussion about the age old question: How do I fit in fitness? Regular physical activity is one of the cornerstones of our health and yet too many struggle to find time to engage in meaningful activity. This lecture will provide participants with practical tips and tricks to incorporate fitness throughout the work day and in daily life. The presenter, Stacy Cutrono, an oncology exercise physiologist at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, received her doctoral degree in exercise physiology from the University of Miami and her certification as a cancer exercise specialist from the Rocky Mountain Cancer Rehabilitation Institute. She gained experience in implementing workplace health programs while interning at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center and worked with an integrative health practice at Canyon Ranch Miami Beach. Her current position at Sylvester allows her to focus on her clinical aim of improving physical fitness, function, and wellness among cancer survivors.

Miller School campus: Monday, August 8, 12:30-1:30 p.m., Clinical Research Building, room 1270A

Coral Gables campus: Tuesday, August 9, 12-1 p.m., McKnight Building, room 201AB

FSAP health and wellness seminars are offered as part of the University of Miami’s Well ’Canes Program. Register through ulearn.miami.edu. For help with ULearn registration, or to receive email announcements of upcoming seminars, please call the FSAP at 305-284-6604.

 

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Mindful Parenting

Faculty and Staff Assistance Program (FSAP) Mindful Living seminars are offered monthly to explore the basic tenets of mindfulness, review the significance of mindful living, and guide participants through a mindfulness practice. Being mindful increases engagement with the present moment and allows for a clearer understanding of how thoughts and emotions impact our health and the quality of our lives. This month’s FSAP Mindful Living seminar will focus on Mindful Parenting and will be facilitated by Professor Scott Rogers, director of the University of Miami’s Mindfulness in Law Program and co-founder of the UMindfulness Research and Practice Initiative.  Rogers has been sharing mindfulness across the U for more than a decade and has taught mindfulness and developed mindfulness trainings for more than 20 years. He is a nationally recognized leader in mindfulness and collaborates on research exploring the enduring brain and behavior changes that may accompany mindfulness trainings.

Coral Gables campus: Tuesday, July 26, 12-1 p.m., McKnight Building, room 201AB

Miller School campus: Wednesday, July 27, 12-1 p.m., Dominion Parking Garage, room 155

Rosenstiel campus: Thursday, July 28, 12-1 p.m., Library Media Room

FSAP Health and Wellness seminars are offered as part of the University of Miami’s Well ‘Canes Program. Register through ulearn.miami.edu. For help with Ulearn registration, or to receive email announcements of upcoming seminars, please call the FSAP at 305-284-6604.

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