Dancing is hard work. Whether you’re just learning to dance or you’ve been doing it for years, you probably know just how physically and mentally demanding it can be. That’s why it’s important to fuel your body right, and take the step
s necessary to prevent injury. In today’s post from Modern Ballroom Dance Studio, we’re going to discuss six health tips that every dancer should follow. Keep reading and then contact our dance studio in Woodbridge if you have any questions or would like to learn more about the classes we have to offer.
Fuel Your Body With Healthy Food
Dancing is a challenging cardio workout that requires plenty of energy. Dancers burn a lot of calories, and you can certainly tell if you haven’t eaten enough or if you haven’t eaten the right types of foods because your dancing will suffer. To make sure that you’re giving your body the nutrition it needs to meet the demands of dancing, it’s essential to eat a healthy, well-balanced diet. This includes eating complex carbohydrates to give you sustained energy, plus small amounts of protein to build muscle. Don’t forget to include other necessary nutrients like healthy fats, fiber, and antioxidants from fresh fruits and vegetables. All of these are needed to help your body keep up with the demands of dancing.
While we’re discussing what you should eat, it is also important to mention the things that you should avoid eating as well. First, avoid eating too much sugar. Sugar wreaks havoc on your body, causing spikes in blood sugar and promoting inflammation. Keeping sugar consumption low isn’t just about avoiding things like candy, cookies, and ice cream, it’s about becoming more aware of the sugar that is lurking in many foods all around you (even savory or salty ones).
Caffeine is another thing you should try to avoid. This is a good rule of thumb for everyone, not just dancers. Although most people enjoy their morning coffee and can’t imagine not having it, drinking caffeinated beverages throughout the day can be harmful to your body. Too much caffeine can cause high blood pressure, it can inhibit the absorption of certain vitamins and minerals, and it can prevent you from getting a good night’s rest. And speaking of rest…
Get Plenty Of Rest
Life is demanding enough as it is with a job, school, family, and social obligations — fitting in dance classes, practice, and competitions (if you’re a competitive dancer) can leave you feeling completely drained. That’s why it’s necessary to make sure your body is getting the rest it needs. Rest can involve just finding time to relax and unwind, but making sure you get quality, restorative sleep is what your body really needs.
If you’re finding that you’re feeling more and more rundown and you’re not waking up feeling refreshed and energetic, you might want to look at how your daily habits could be affecting your sleep. Consider making changes like eliminating caffeine, turning off electronics at least an hour before bed, and implementing a nighttime routine that helps you wind down. Before you know it, you’ll be getting the rest your body craves and you’ll be able to perform better in all areas of your life, not just dancing.
With so many things going on, it’s easy to forget the essential things — like drinking enough water. Most experts recommend drinking at least 64 ounces of water a day, but that amount increases if you are engaged in strenuous physical activity, such as dancing.
Over half of our body is composed of water, so it’s important to make sure that you’re drinking enough. Most people have probably heard that drinking plenty of water is the key to having beautiful, radiant skin, but it’s responsible for many other things necessary for maintaining good health. Water helps regulate body temperature, lubricates joints, flushes waste from our bodies, and it aids in digestion and nutrient absorption, among other things. If you’re not properly hydrated, your dancing will likely suffer as well. Take care of your body and boost your dance performance by staying hydrated.
Don’t Skip Your Warm-Up and Cool-Down
We understand that there never seems to be enough hours in the day to get everything done. However, if you’re committed to learning to become a better dancer, don’t try to cut corners by skimping on your warm-up or cool-down. Warming up before class helps to get your blood pumping and flowing to your muscles. This is important for better performance and avoiding injuries.
At the end of class you might be tempted to leave the dance studio as quickly as possible, but your body will thank you if you take at least a few minutes to do a proper cool-down. This helps to reduce your heart rate, cool your body temperature, and reduce muscle soreness.
Incorporate Other Exercises Into Your Routine
Many athletes know that to improve their game, they have to incorporate a wide range of exercises into their fitness routine — and the same goes for dancers. Although dancing is primarily a cardiovascular workout, dancers can benefit highly from strength training and Pilates. Strength training helps to build the muscles needed to become a better dancer, and Pilates promotes better posture, improved strength and flexibility, and a stronger core. All of these are essential for building endurance and improving form.
Listen To Your Body
Perhaps one of the most important things you can do to stay healthy and prevent injury is to listen to your body. Dancers and other athletes are often taught to push through pain, sickness, and fatigue and to just keep going. However, this may not be very good advice. If you’re feeling sick or you experience frequent or recurring pain, you should stop. Take a day of rest. Sit out the next class. Do whatever you need to do to help your body heal and get back on track. Don’t be afraid to see a doctor or physical therapist if your pain doesn’t go away with rest. Continuing to push through the pain could result in long-term damage that could affect your dancing for many years to come.
Contact Modern Ballroom Dance Studio
Are you considering taking dance lessons, or are you looking for a dance studio where experienced instructors can help you improve your competitive dance skills? At Modern Ballroom Dance Studio in Woodbridge, we teach a wide range of classes for all skill levels. Give us a call to learn more or to sign up for one of our classes. We look forward to sharing our passion for dance!