Dancing is a fun and healthy activity, but like any physical activity, it can put stress on your body that may lead to aches, pains and injury. If you dance often, it is essential to do regular self-care and maintenance exercises to keep you on the floor, pain-free and feeling good. Here are three methods of self-care and how they can benefit you.
Most people know about the benefits of stretching: reduced muscle tension, better range of motion and injury prevention. Knowing HOW to stretch properly and for your particular sport is another matter. If done improperly, stretching can actually lead to strain or injury, and it is important to know when, what, and how to stretch for the most benefit.
Foam Rolling/Myofascial Release
Myofascial Release is a fancy term for self-massage and involves using a foam roller, ball or other massage tools to break up fascia or small amounts of scar tissue that build up in our muscles from exercise and activity. It also helps restore blood flow to the tissues. Using a foam roller or other massage device before activity or exercise can help to loosen tight muscles, improve mobility and alleviate aches in joints and muscles.
Strength training is a key component in maintaining a healthy and pain-free dancer’s body. By this, we don’t mean lifting heavy weights at the gym, but specific targeted exercises to help strengthen and tone muscle groups that are employed in dance movements. A strengthening regimen for a dancer might include multiple exercises, for instance: planks for core stability, toe raises for calf & ankle strength, etc. Yoga, Pilates, and Gyrotonics are also effective methods for dancers looking to build functional strength.
If you are an avid dancer, either social or competitive, a self-care routine incorporating these and other methods can help you prevent injury, alleviate minor aches and pains and help you be a stronger dancer. It is important to get educated on proper technique to maximize the benefit and avoid injury.
If you are interested in learning more, make sure to check out Self-Care for Dancers, a special workshop presented by Go Dance and instructor Beth Strickland. Beth has many years of experience as a massage therapist and Pilates instructor and will cover all three methods (stretching, self-massage & strengthening), guiding you through exercises and techniques that will leave you feeling brand new. Register today and your body will thank you!