Jamie Cage has spent almost 20 years dancing across stages and into people’s hearts. Now, she’s helping others care for their own heart.
“I like it. It’s very different than what I’m used to,” says Cage, who now works as an exercise physiologist in cardiopulmonary rehab.
As a child, Cage started as a gymnast, then fell in love with dance.
She earned a bachelor’s degree in dance and began dancing for a company in Chicago. She did so for 17 years while teaching and running the dance program at Northeastern Illinois University. During this time, she also received a master’s degree in exercise science and taught exercise physiology.
After relocating to Indiana with her husband, Cage decided it was time for a career change and landed at IU Health Bloomington in January 2022.
In her new role as an exercise physiologist, Cage supervises and designs exercise programs for patients recovering from a cardiac event or procedure.
“I’m working with patients as they’re exercising, while watching their heart rate to see if anything is going on, helping them with their oxygen saturation, making sure they’re able to condition their muscles,” explains Cage. “We also provide a lot of education about exercising at home, medication safety, and precautions they need to take after surgery.”
And every now and then, she’ll take a spin down memory lane and show off her skills to pump up her patients.
“If the energy seems low in rehab, I’ll change up the music and bust a move down the track or something. I think the patients have fun with it,” she says.
A dancer at heart, her new career brings new rewards as she helps care for others.
“It’s very satisfying to me. I like making an impact in people’s lives and hopefully, help them live longer and healthier.”