The concept of dancing is astonishing. Its principles are based on the idea that moving your body in different motions can produce something so pleasing to the eye and satisfying to watch. On top of that, a dancer can feel so liberated and stress-free through these motions. This has led to various dance forms from all parts of the world coming to life. From ballet to Bollywood, regardless of the dance form, one thing they all have in common is the strain they put on your body. Whether it’s your muscles or joints, neglecting your body can affect your health in the short and long term. If you want to become the best dancer you can be, you need to take care of your body and here are five top tips in doing so:
- Try Out Meditation
Dancing itself can be a form of meditation for some people, and there have been major links made between mental health and dancing. While the mental benefits are well documented, their physical benefits are less known. Yoga, in particular, can reduce chronic pain and improve your breathing. Meditating can also free your mind of any stress, allowing you to get through your day and dance with more compassion and positivity.
We are lucky to live in a day and age, where there are a plethora of resources online. Platforms such as YouTube give you access to videos from all corners of the world. Take some time out of your day and start searching for meditation videos online. Ten minutes of yoga and meditation as the first thing in the morning or last thing before you sleep can impact your dancing for the better.
2. Look After Your Injuries
The strain dancing puts on your body can lead to injuries. Although pain is normal and often a sign of your body becoming stronger, it’s important to distinguish between normal pain and an injury. They can happen to anyone, and the main way to avoid becoming injured is through stretching. Stretching your muscles before and after training keeps the muscles flexible and active, so you’re ready to dance. If you feel your injuries are persisting and you’re unsure of how to fix them, seeking medical help such as seeing a physiotherapist can provide you with more tailored advice and treatment.
Another method that nowadays is gaining more popularity each day is CBD products. CBD, also known as cannabidiol, is a component of the marijuana plant which has a range of positive effects on the body, including pain relief. It differs itself from THC, another component of the marijuana plant, as CBD is not psychoactive. This means you won’t feel the ‘high’ or euphoria usually associated with marijuana. In fact, CBD is also non-addictive and won’t cause severe side effects, making it safe even for long-term use.
Investing in a CBD balm or cream can help your injuries immensely as you can apply the product directly to the affected area leading to quicker pain relief. The CBD market also offers various options for your daily relief from pain, anxiety or stress, such as CBD capsules, oral tinctures, tea, water and many others. Google your desired products, and you will find a world of legal and accessible items at the click of a mouse.
3. Stay Hydrated
Although this can fall under dieting, drinking enough water is as essential as any other factor. Staying hydrated can improve exercise performance and maintain your blood pressure. It lubricates the joints and cushions sensitive tissues which reduces the chance of an injury. Drinking water will give your body the fuel it needs to dance to the best of your potential. Aim to drink 1-1.5 litres of water a day and adjust the amount depending on how (de)hydrated you feel. In case you tend not to drink water, try some flavoured alternatives like aloe vera or coconut water.
4. Maintain A Healthy Diet
This doesn’t mean following an excruciating diet plan. It simply means eating the right foods to give your body the needed fuel. Incorporating certain food groups can take your dancing to higher levels. Protein is one of the more important food groups as it promotes the strength and repair of your muscles. It’s mostly found in eggs, meat and dairy but if you’re a vegetarian/vegan, you can still find it in abundance in tofu, lentils and different types of beans.
On the other hand, carbohydrates provide energy which will keep you alert and motivated whilst dancing. Healthy carbs include whole-wheat pasta and rice, quinoa and sweet potato. Try to avoid some unhealthy carbs such as certain types of bread and vegetables as they may lead to increased weight gain and excess sugar intake.
5. Prioritise Quality Sleep
Sleep is a vital process needed for your body to repair itself and get the relaxation it needs. Apart from the numerous scientific benefits (such as body repair and weight regulation), a good night’s sleep will allow you to start the day with a clear mind. When it comes down to dancing, you’ll be mentally and physically prepared. Try to listen to your body and if you feel constantly fatigued and drained, get an extra hour of sleep. As a dancer, there are sacrifices you have to make and sleep is not one of them. Test out alternative ways of sleeping such as taking 20-minute naps throughout the day, which can increase your energy levels, or invest in an orthopedic pillow which can even help to improve your posture.
The main theme to follow is to listen to your body. Your body will often give you signs of what is wrong whether that is through pain, fatigue or dehydration. React to these individual factors and give your body what it needs. Look beyond conventional ways of looking after yourself and test out new methods such as meditating and using CBD products. All of these individual factors may seem small, but they are all crucial building blocks for you to become the best dancer that you can be.