Tips From A Windsor Dance Studio: 5 Health Tips for Dancers
Dance classes are an excellent workout and hobby for young children and teens, but it can take a toll on their bodies. In order to stay strong and injury-free, dancers need to pay attention to their overall health. These five health tips will help dancers stay in top shape and keep their bodies growing and healthy.
Hydration is key for any physical activity, especially dance. Dancers should drink 8 to 16 ounces of water at every meal and take smaller water breaks at least every 30 minutes while they are participating in dance lessons. Throughout the day, younger children should aim for a total of 35 to 50 ounces of water, and teenagers should have 65 to 70 ounces. This is especially important if they are performing a physically demanding dance because water helps replace the fluid that is lost by sweating.
Get Proper Sleep
A healthy dancer is a rested dancer. Getting a good night’s sleep is vital not only to helping children and teens grow, but also keeping them healthy. Young dancers, especially toddlers, should get at least eight hours of sleep a night, or even more if possible. A full night’s sleep allows the body to recharge, boosts the immune system to avoid sickness, and lets tired muscles rest. Injuries can still come hours after intense activity, so taking rest days every few days or at least once a week can help protect muscles and avoid injury.
Stretch and Rest Tired Muscles
Dancers aren’t done when they leave the studio. Instead, they should spend time taking care of their tired muscles. Stretching before and after dance practice helps keep muscles loose and avoids them getting pulled or strained. Pay attention to sore muscles and use the RICE treatment of rest, ice, compression, and elevation. Calf muscle soreness and injuries are common with dancers and can be helped by lying down with your legs up in the air.
Dancers tend to have very strong leg and arm muscles, but they also need to cross-train to build strength and endurance in the rest of their body. Low-impact cardio a few times a week, such as pilates, yoga, swimming, or biking, is a great way for dancers to build up endurance and strength, which can help them prevent injuries and keep their bodies healthier. It doesn’t take much cross-training to make a difference, and dancers should be careful to avoid working too hard and straining their bodies.
Eat a Balanced Diet
A healthy, balanced diet can make all the difference in fueling a dancer’s body and helping them perform at their best level. Dancers should eat a balanced diet of lean proteins, fats, and healthy carbohydrates, especially when they are dancing frequently throughout the day. Dancers should start with a larger breakfast that is high in complex carbohydrates, moderate in protein, and low in fat to give them energy and strength for the rest of the day. To keep the body going throughout the day, try eating smaller, protein-filled meals every three to four hours.