Local Man's Love of Dancing Keeps Him Young, and Maybe Even Alive

Imagine if your favorite past-time became your doctor's favorite piece of advice.

NBC-15's Sarah Carlson introduces us to a local man whose love for ballroom dance has kept him young - and maybe even alive.

At 80 years “young” Gale and Audrey Yanke can polka with the best of them.

Gale says, "Sometimes we're doing two and a half to three hours of dancing."

They haven't missed a "step" - despite gale's battle with heart disease.

"We were dancing and I would get pain in my shoulders and I'd just stop dancing and we'd hang my arms down and I'd wait until the pain would go away and keep on dancing," says Gale.

That pain lead to one bypass surgery and 4 angioplasties over the past 15 years.

But, it's likely the dancing that kept his heart trouble from getting worse.

"I can work up a sweat, boy we're sweating like mad and we're dancing hard."

Patients work up a pretty good sweat at Meriter's heart center, too.

But, it's often hard to convince someone who's never used a bike or treadmill - to use one three times a week.

"You have to find something that you can tolerate that you really like to do."

Julie Jones is a heart center educator at Meriter.

She's excited about new research, which found dancing improves a heart patient's quality of life and ability to function - and may be a good alternative to other aerobic exercise.

Jones says, "If we can give them something that they're more used to doing, maybe like house-work type activities or dancing things that they are maybe more used to its better and they see it as a better fit for them."

Gale and Audrey love to polka, waltz and foxtrot, but they say the social aspect of dance is what keeps them coming back.

"You get to hold all the girls on your arm."


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