When we dance, we place an extreme physical demand on our bodies. Often, we are practising the same move repeatedly during our practice sessions and maybe have little recovery time before our next training session.
Avoiding injury as much as possible is crucial for the health of a dancer’s body. Repetitive injuries limit careers. Even for social dancers, not being able to get out to their favourite social dance party or weekly classes and see friends has a negative impact on our mental wellbeing. No one wants to stay home injured.
We all want to avoid injury, so here are 10 quick and simple tips to avoid injury as much as possible:
Keep well hydrated before, during and after class
Keep a healthy eating pattern as much as possible
The to get the proper amount of rest – our bodies repair themselves whilst we sleep.
Try to avoid over training
Try other types of exercise to help cross-train other parts of your body – this will build strength and endurance all over.
Make sure your shoes are properly fitted and the correct ones for each type of dance – see if you can wear sturdier, supportive practice shoes for rehearsals rather than performance shoes
Wear the right number of layers before, during and after practice – particularly in winter you need warm layers to start which you can remove gradually as you warm up. Remove wet clothing immediately after your session and replace with dry, warm clothing so that your muscles cool down gradually
Warm up properly – a good 45 minute all over body warm up and some stretching (but not over stretching)
Cool Down properly – a good 45-minute cool down with the correct range of motion in your stretches to lengthen your limbs after practice – ask your dance instructor to provide the right type of stretches to counteract the movements from your practice session. No 2 practice sessions are ever the same and nor should you cool down sessions be. Cool down is not just stretching, it can incorporate other movements or exercises as appropriate. No time to cool down at the studio? Walk home, stretch as soon as you get home.
Listen to your body – it’s designed to tell you when to stop, when to rest and when it has the energy to carry on
Got any more top tips of your own? Share them with us in the comments below