Dance throws us many physical and mental hurdles. Staying healthy can allow us to conquer these hurdles and become the best dancers we can be. See the tips below to learn more!
Tip #1- Take care of your body
A dancer's body is their instrument, therefore it is extremely important to treat it well and with care. This includes eating well (see our previous blog post with a video by registered dietitian, Christine McPhail), and getting enough sleep (discussed below). It also includes making sure that you warm up before class to ready your body for the rigours of class, and cool down at the end to prevent muscle stiffness and soreness.
A large aspect of taking care of your body involves listening to it. Ballet can sometimes be painful, but there is a difference between pain from muscle fatigue and acute or overuse pain. Dancers have enormous amounts of willpower and sometimes this willpower allows us to push through when their bodies are telling them to stop. It's important to listen to these signals to keep ourselves healthy!
Tip #2 - Sleep well
A major aspect of taking care of yourself involves sleep. Did you know that it's recommended that children, pre-teens and teenagers have between 8-10 hours of sleep a night? This is especially important when we are physically active.
Studies show that lack of sleep can decrease your reaction time, affecting your ability to learn exercises and potentially leading to injury. Speaking of injuries, sleep allows the body to restore and repair itself which is incredibly important to keep ourselves healthy!
Sleep is also important for memory consolidation (how new memories are packed into the brain). There have been studies that show that if people practice a movement task, sleep on it and then try again, their performance improves without additional practice. Pretty neat! Now go and catch some ?s!
Tip #3- Stay on top of your mental health!
As discussed above, we know that taking care of our bodies physically is incredibly important to be able to do what we do. What we sometimes forget is that our mental well being is just as important as our physical health.
Remember to be kind to yourself and if you are feeling down or stressed, try and find different coping strategies that work for you. Don't be afraid to reach out if you feel like you are struggling. It can be to a family member, friend, teacher or doctor. There's no shame in asking for help if you are in need!
Tip #4 - Use social media effectively
Social media can be a great thing to keep you connected, especially in times like these. It can also be an excellent learning tool and place for inspiration. We try to produce a feed that promotes this on our Instagram.
The problem with social media is that it can also have an effect on your mental health. Remember that everything you see is curated. With social media savvy dancers, this can mean trimming down video footage to show the absolute best moments, taking countless takes of one pirouette to finally achieve one that is like-worthy for the 'gram' or even use Photoshop on photos! Keep this in mind when browsing and try to never compare yourself to someone else. Remember that no one is perfect!