6 Steps for Preventing Dance Injuries
Dance is a beautiful art form to watch, and for those who participate in it, it’s quite fun and provides benefits like maintaining a healthy weight and building muscle. However, there is a great deal of hard work that goes along with the entertainment and fun of the hobby/profession. In fact, the physical demands of dancing can really take a toll on a dancer’s body. Not to mention, overuse is not the only risk that someone who dances is susceptible to. In fact, a dancer may experience one-time injuries as a result of inexperience or due to an accident. Oftentimes, these problems are preventable, and you can avoid having to take time away from your passion.
1. Know Your Limits
Your body is an excellent signaler when it comes to letting you know that it’s had enough. If you’re feeling pain or muscle fatigue, don’t force yourself to push through. Instead, take a break and listen to your body. It might be hard to push yourself to quit, but resiting the urge to fight through pain will prevail as smart decision, since it can prevent a dance injury.
2. Properly Fitting Shoes
From pointe shoes to slippers to character shoes, dance requires you to wear various types of footwear and perform in them. If your shoes don’t fit properly, you put yourself at risk of falling or doing damage to your ankle. In addition, a poorly fitting shoe can cause issues for your feet, since shoes support your foot and absorb impact. Your shoes should be comfortable as well. When you wear shoes that don’t fit properly or aren’t comfortable, you can do permanent damage to your foot that will haunt you for the rest of your life. Have your dance shoes properly fitted and/or sized.
3. Warm Up
Just like exercise, dance requires you to warm up your muscles to prevent injury. A warm up should include stretches and slow movements. For instance, if you tap dance, a soft shuffle might work well. Or, if you do ballet or modern, try starting out with a few plies and releves to warm up the hips, legs and ankles.
4. Eat Right
If you dance and have a full-time job, it is quite a task to juggle life, especially when it comes to scheduling time to take care of yourself. Additionally, striving for a “dancer’s body” sometimes leads us down a road of unhealthy eating habits and even eating disorders. When you’re not receiving enough fuel for your body to function, and you’re lacking nutrients, you’re putting yourself at a greater risk for injury. Eat right and take vitamins to keep your body functioning properly
5. Proper Form
In some instances, an injury is caused by improper execution of dance move. To avoid these types of issues, you should always learn proper form from an instructor and make sure you watch carefully. Don’t hesitate to ask for help, if you’re not completely sure how to do a certain move. Remember, that posture is key when dancing
6. Don’t Advance Until Your Ready
Maybe there are others in your class ready to move up to the next level. That’s great for them, but don’t drive yourself too hard and move up too quickly. As you begin dancing more days, and you start learning harder routines, it’s easy to push yourself too hard to try to be the best. Make sure that you advance at a rate that’s comfortable for you.