Dancing is a physically demanding activity. Injuries can happen; however, there are many ways to avoid injury or to help manage an existing one.
*Note – This is based off of experience, if you are injured please be sure to always consult your physician or professional trainer.*
First of all, stay well rested and drink a lot of water. It is important to remain hydrated and get a good night’s sleep so your body is energized for the next day.
Make sure you give yourself a proper warm up before class. Injuries are a lot more common when you jump right into fast movement or high extensions without warming up. I promise you, your body isn’t ready for it!
In addition, give yourself a cool down after class. Sitting down or resting right away will make your muscles tighten up and become stiff. A great way to avoid that is to stretch. Another option is to slowly roll your muscles out with a tennis ball or foam roller.
Cross training is a great technique to avoid injuries. Strengthening and activating your muscles in new ways helps to train your body for dance. However, it is best to stay away from impact sports. A few cross training techniques that are good for dancers include, Pilates, yoga, and swimming. The stronger you are, the more likely you will prevent an injury!
Managing an Injury:
ICE ICE ICE. I cannot stress enough how important it is to ice your injury. It will help reduce swelling and inflammation. However, timing is everything. It is very important to ice and elevate right after the injury occurs. Then, when you are ready to start training, do not ice before exercise! You will want your muscles to be warm. Ice after exercise and for no more than 20 minutes at a time. Alternating between heat and ice a few days after the injury may also be helpful. Again, please consult a doctor for specific instruction.
Finally, consider going to physical therapy to learn the proper ways to retrain and strengthen your body. You want to ensure that you maintain proper technique to avoid allowing the injury to continue or happen again.