For full-time dancers to succeed in their demanding careers, maintaining peak performance while staying replenished is essential. All dancers deserve to have healthy bodies that aren’t burdened by constant pain and surgeries to keep performing their best. Here are six tips to help full-time dancers stay healthy and relaxed.
1. Prioritizing Rest and Recovery
To perform your best, you need a balance of both practice and rest. Continual performance wears on both the body and the mind. When you’ve given it your all, remember to refuel. Even though it might not seem like much, one of the best ways to take care of your body as a dancer is to just take some time to rest.
Create a proper and adequate sleep schedule and maintain it regularly. Spend time with people who will encourage you if your body is tense due to stress. You can also leverage apps like Headspace to practice mindfulness and relax. Tracking your sleep cycle can also be helpful if you struggle to establish a healthy pattern.
2. Cross-Training for Balanced Fitness
Even while dancing is a physically demanding activity on its own, you can augment your training with other activities. Regular exercise can help maintain posture and alignment crucial for fluid movements.
Make sure you schedule some time for cross-training because dance training alone falls short of meeting the body’s strength and endurance requirements. Aerobic exercises like biking, walking, and low-impact exercises like Pilates, are great for cross-training.
Pilates includes stretches and exercises to increase strength, flexibility, and mental clarity. Using Pilates Anytime and other similar apps is also a great option to help keep yourself flexible if you can’t fit going out for physical exercises into your schedule.
3. Proper Warm-Ups and Cool-Downs
Warm-up and cool-down exercises are as important as the main practice. Skipping these activities can cause harm to your body by hindering your flexibility and increasing the chances of strain.
A proper warm-up with dynamic stretches and mobility exercises gets your muscles ready for movement, making you less likely to pull or strain something. It’s also crucial to keep warm when you’re not dancing.
If you choose to take a break and wait on the side, be sure to cover up to avoid becoming sick—and warm up briefly before continuing. You can also practice these stretches at home with stretching apps like STRETCHIT.
4. Nutrition and Hydration for Sustained Energy
Despite not being primarily an athletic sport, dancing still requires a lot of physical strength. Dancers need to make sure they’re getting enough calories and staying hydrated to keep their bodies fit for the job.
A dancer’s diet must contain complex carbs like pasta, bread, and rice. After any intense workout, consuming a modest snack of complex carbohydrates and protein is also beneficial to replenish the nutrients your muscles have lost.
The best approach to make sure you’re getting the vitamins and minerals you need is to consume a variety of foods every day. If you’re unsure of what and how much to eat, you can get help from meal planning sites and apps like PlateJoy that help you create a meal plan for your body’s nutrition requirements.
Dancers also require frequent hydration. Keep drinking water during practices and after to ensure you stay hydrated. Sports beverages with a high glucose content can also help you replenish lost fluid and energy during lengthy rehearsals.
5. Injury Prevention and Management
We hear inspirational tales of dancers who suffered injuries while performing and continue the show despite them. As admirable as it sounds, this behavior can be sabotaging and may turn a little injury into a major issue. An illness or injury won’t get better by being danced about.
Listen to your body and rest if you need it. If you pull or strain something, do not shake it off, and continue practicing. Get it treated and follow recovery protocols to ensure you’re entirely fit for practice again. It’s also advisable to practice stretches and exercises that keep your body flexible and help prevent injuries.
6. Mental Health and Stress Management
Focusing on mental health is equally vital as focusing on physical health. Only when you are physically and mentally healthy can you perform at your peak. Create a proper unwinding schedule to ensure you stay mentally healthy and stress-free.
Work on your sleep quality, practice meditation, and spend time on other activities that help you relax. You can also use online apps such as Calm to help manage your stress and stay relaxed and focused.
Keep Your Body Flexible and Mind Sharp
By practicing simple yet powerful habits like good sleep and proper nutrition, you can thrive as a dancer and stay healthy while at it. Prioritize taking care of your body as it carries your dreams of dancing.