5 Tips for a Healthy Dance Season
It is time for the dance season to begin! Dancers are jumping back into a full dance schedule. This is the time that dancers are pushed to their limits and are often trying to balance dance, life, and school for our younger dancers. Due to the increase in activity this can be a time where injuries can begin to develop even if there is no immediate pain.
Many dance injuries are a slow burn that develop over time. Dancers may not even be aware that an injury is slowly developing in their bodies until it is too late. Fortunately, we can screen for injuries and develop a proper wellness program in order to defend against injuries before they occur.
Listed below are the top 5 tips for injury prevention, which are summed up by the acronym D.A.N.C.E.
D: Dynamic Warm-up A: Advocate for Your Health N: Nourish Your Body and Mind C: Cross-Train E: Energy Conservation
Dancers often choose static stretching before class. While there is a place for static stretching to help you reduce the uncomfortable feeling during a stretch, this is not a good warm-up strategy. For your body to perform at its best you need your core temperature to be elevated and the stabilizing muscles “awake” and ready to dance. A good active warmup that both mobilizes and strengthens your body will help to avoid injuries.
Advocate for Your Health
One of the hardest parts about being a dancer is speaking up when you are in pain. Pain is your bodies way of telling you something is wrong. But, knowing what to do is a challenge. It is important to communicated to your teachers what is going on, but unless your teacher has specific training working with injuries it is advised to seek advice from someone who is trained to administer it. Receiving proper can means a decrease in injury severity, a decreased time away from class, and you can return you to class a stronger, healthier dancer.
Nourish Your Body and Mind
It is important to nourish your body and your mind. Eating well and making time for things outside of dance is key for building strong muscles and a strong immune system. This combination will keep a dancer in class and injury free. It is important to make sure that your body is ready for the demands of dance. Be sure to consult a nutritionist, or therapist, if you are unsure of how to structure a safe and healthy program that is not only effective, but also sustainable.
If you are here you understand the benefit of cross-training. The majority of dance injuries occur because of imbalances or injuries from repetitive movements. It is imperative that dancers balance out their strength with opposing muscles that are not used in the studio. This not only will this prevent injuries, but it can improve your performance!
A tired and overworked dancer is more likely to suffer an injury. Decreasing fatigue outside of the studio is important. According to the National Sleep Foundation, teenagers aged around 14-17 require 8-10 hours of sleep and young adults aged 18-25 years old require 7-9 hours of sleep. As an athlete it is important to reach these sleep goals each night in order to provide your body with adequate time for rest and repair.