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Heart Month Tip #28: Dance!

February 28, 2015

From Andie Woodward, Critical Care Flight Paramedic

Andie Woodward’s job as flight paramedic is not for the faint of heart, and neither is her chosen style of performance art. “Fire dancing is exciting,” she says. “There’s an element of danger.”

It can also be trance-like, Andie says. “You lose yourself in the music and the light of the fire.”

Andie has been performing with fire for many years, and also teaches classes. “I love the fact that dancing with fire is great for all ages,” she says. “I’ve had little kids and old people in my classes, and everyone in between. It’s great for flexibility, balance, and overall fitness. You don’t even realize you’re exercising.”

Bust a move!

Get up, turn on some music, and shake your stuff! Whatever style of dance you choose, from ballet and ballroom to square dance and free-style rock and roll, or something more daring and exotic like fire dancing, the health benefits are amazing! Here’s what dancing can do for you:

  • Gets your heart rate up
  • Increases the strength and density of your bones, decreasing your risk of fractures and osteoporosis
  • Greatly reduces your risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia
  • Uses all the major muscle groups
  • Increases balance, coordination, and strength
  • Builds stamina and endurance
  • Reduces stress
  • Builds camaraderie and friendships
  • Is really fun and makes you feel great

What does a flight paramedic do?

As a critical care flight paramedic, Andie’s on the front lines for adult cardiac emergencies—the #1 reason for calls to Air St. Luke’s. With two critical care transport teams in Boise and one in Twin Falls, they cover the region by helicopter, plane, and ground ambulance. The teams run regular drills flying simulated patients, working in partnership with St. Luke’s Emergency Departments and Cardiac Catheterization labs (where patients are taken to open blocked arteries in the case of heart attack), as well as crews from Life Flight. Together they’re achieving better and better transport times—a crucial component of saving lives when every minute counts.

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