Ronnie Williams leads a line dancing class at SOCCA, Turner School as part of Sen. Anthony H. Williams’ Health Awareness Season.

PHILADELPHIA, Nov. 16, 2012 — Whether they were setting new health goals with a personal trainer or stepping, hip shaking or walking off extra calories, citizens across the 8th Senatorial District enjoyed partaking in a free series of health-minded events sponsored by state Sen. Anthony H. Williams.

Williams just wrapped up his annual Health Awareness Season campaign, in which he invited the community to check out healthy activities for free from October to mid-November. The senator sponsored these free local events in partnership with Brown’s ShopRite, Bravo Health, Perssonal Health Chiropractic & Rehabilitation and the Law Office of Dennis G. Young, Jr., P.C.

“A healthy lifestyle is something we can all strive toward, whether we resolve to make better food choices, exercise more or maintain regular check-ups with our physician. We don’t have to make huge changes, but even little lifestyle improvements make a major difference,” Williams said. “As we look ahead toward the holiday season and all of the subsequent parties and meals, now is the perfect time to start or maintain good habits. The goal of my annual Health Awareness Season campaign is to show folks that being healthy is smart, attainable and even fun any time of the year.”

Williams kicked off his Health Awareness Season on Sept. 15 at the second annual Mary Mahoney Health Fair, held at the Pennsy Flea Market. Named for the nation’s first professionally trained African American nurse, the fair focused on health awareness and early detection of health problems and included free health-related tests, advice, literature and demonstrations.

Shadina Gardner leads a Shy Zumba class at Kingsessing Recreation Center as part of Sen. Anthony H. Williams’ Health Awareness Season.

Williams sponsored a variety of free weekly events in the community, including a personal training session with Tyrone Muse on Mondays at Sayre Morris Recreation Center, line dancing with Ronnie Williams on Wednesdays at SOCCA at Turner School, Zumba with Shadina Gardner on Thursdays at Kingsessing Recreation Center, and Saturday morning walks at Cobbs Creek.

“Exercise isn’t always about running on a treadmill or lifting weights. It’s about moving your body and challenging yourself,” Williams said. “Working out can be fun, and these activities demonstrate all the many different ways to burn calories and get in shape, and in many cases, it doesn’t cost a thing.”

The senator also hosted a community blood drive with the American Red Cross on Sept. 28 at his Island Avenue district office location.

On Oct. 6, Williams and members of his staff participated in the annual Step Out Walk to Stop Diabetes in Philadelphia. Williams, who lives with diabetes, said the walk raises awareness about the disease.

Diabetes is a leading cause of premature death in America. Some 1 in 10 Philadelphia residents struggle with diabetes. In Delaware County, it’s 1 in 12, according to the Centers for Disease Control. It is also a disease that can be managed with diet and exercise, along with medication.

“Maintaining insulin levels, eating healthy and exercising are crucial to managing diabetes. The walk not only raised awareness, but also benefitted research for a cure, all while getting some exercise in,” Williams said. “Thanks to some lifestyle changes, I’m able to keep my diabetes under control. I hope I can inspire other people living with this disease to do the same.”