Faced with a family history of heart disease, Tony Wald took steps to improve her health -- dance steps.
She learned the bolero, the Viennese waltz, the fox trot, salsa and samba. Five years later, the 66-year-old Bluffton resident is swinging and swaying to her heart's delight.
"I knew it would help, and the numbers have shown that it's working," Wald said. "Since I started dancing, I've lost 40 pounds. I've lowered my blood pressure and my cholesterol."
To encourage more women to bust a move during American Heart Month, Beaufort Memorial Hospital is hosting the inaugural Day of Dance, a free dance party/community wellness event being held Saturday at the Seaquins Ballroom in Bluffton.
Participants will have the chance to learn ballroom and Latin dances, watch professional dance demonstrations, receive free health screenings and assessments and speak with specialists in the areas of cardiology, vascular surgery, gastroenterology, orthopedics and women's health.
Part of Beaufort Memorial Hospital's Spirit of Women event series, Day of Dance is being offered in two sessions from 10 a.m. to noon and noon to 2 p.m. During each session, dance instructors from the Fred Astaire Dance Studio will be teaching mini-dance lessons, introducing participants to a variety of dance styles including Latin, ballroom, hip hop and Zumba.
"Everybody can learn to dance," said Sandro Virag, co-owner of the Fred Astaire Studio. "And you burn the same amount of energy doing the quick step as you do boxing. You're not just working one muscle group, you're working everything -- your hips, legs, arms and abdomen."
In addition to the dance instruction, Beaufort Memorial physicians will be on hand conducting assessments used to evaluate a number of health risks for women, including cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis. Screenings will include blood pressure, peripheral arterial disease, body mass index and balance.
The hospital's robotic surgical system, the da Vinci, also will be on display. Dr. Randy Royal, one of the first Beaufort Memorial physicians to perform laparoscopic hysterectomies with the state-of-the-art OR technology, will demonstrate how to operate the robot, dubbed "Leona," and then let attendees take her for a test drive.
For information or to register, go to www.bmhsc.org/spiritofwomen or call 843-522-5952.