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Holiday Dance Health

 

4 ways to keep on your toes during the busy holiday season

The holidays can be a magical time. However, these times can bring along a lot of commitments, in school, home, travel, and dance. Many dance studios have a winter performance, whether Nutcracker, Little Match Girl, Cinderella, or another show. This can be an exciting opportunity for performance, but can also be a time prone to injuries. There are ways to keep on your toes during a busy holiday season.

  1. Pace yourself.

Most dance injuries are overuse injuries. The risk of an overuse injury increases, as expected, with use. So if you are going into a busy dance season, then you should expect to be using your body more. Most dancers have an idea when rehearsals will start and what their schedule will look like for the winter season. It is important to ramp up to the amount of hours required for rehearsal and performance. Starting at 8 hours of class per week and then immediately going to 30 hours of class and rehearsal a week is a lot of stress on your body. Teachers can help keep their dancers on their toes by gradually increasing rehearsal time over a longer period of time rather than cramming a lot of hours into a short period of time.

  1. Recovery.

Recovery is another important part of keeping healthy. As your hours of dancing increase, it is important to plan recovery days. It can be hard to find a day off in this busy season, but decreasing some hours in one activity can give your body more strength for another commitment. It’s about finding balance. In previous articles, I have encouraged dancers to keep up with their cross training. During busy rehearsal and performance times, cross training activities need to be tailored to the demands of the show. You can overdo cross training as well, so make sure you are in balance to the best of your abilities. It is okay to not do everything all the time, so be selective and intentional when demands increase.

  1. Planning ahead.

In the midst of a busy dance season, most dancers are also working hard in their school classes with tests and end-of-semester projects. Planning ahead for a busy school and dance schedule can help keep the stress at a manageable level and keep you focused.

  1. Sunlight

One aspect many dancers don’t think about, as much is the change in sunlight during the wintertime. Dance is already an indoor sport, and even in Florida, the sunlight is less than in the summer time. Make sure you are getting enough Vitamin D and if you generally are not out in the Sun, you may consider getting a Vitamin D level checked by your doctor.

The holidays are a time for celebration, but it can also be stressful and busy. Keep perspective, plan ahead, and enjoy the festivities. Dance healthy, dance happy!

 

Writer: Kathleen Davenport, MD

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