The Best Way for a Dancer to Rest and Recover
February 17, 2023
Depending on the nature of our slumber, our bodies undergo multiple physical processes that can last anywhere from a few minutes to several months.
Let's explore different ways to recuperate, including engaging in low-intensity cross-training, practicing mindful meditation, and getting a full night's sleep.
Active vs. Passive Rest
When most of us think of relaxation, we picture doing nothing. Simply said, passive rest entails doing nothing more strenuous than what would be considered a light activity level (such as monitoring your pulse rate). Although passive rest helps avoid burnout and overuse, the advantages of active rest are better in both the short and long term.
The term active rest includes a wide range of restful activities. Staying standing, dynamic stretching, or marking the dance are all excellent ways to actively rest in the brief time between full-out dances while rehearsing. If you're doing ballet exercises at the barre, you may keep your feet moving by rolling through them.
Active rest intervals of even 15 minutes between bouts of high-intensity exercise can increase stamina and endurance more effectively than passive rest or none, according to new research.
After completing a high-intensity exercise (or dancing class), it is highly useful to perform a cool-down, or a series of calm movements, to help the body recover. Cool-downs are an integral part of most yoga courses; high-intensity positions are often saved for the middle of class while the class concludes with Yin postures and Shavasana, designed to slow your pulse rate and relax your muscles. Including this soothing final position in your workout routine will boost your comfort and fitness levels.
If you want to try your hand at a yoga-inspired cool-down after your next dancing session, be sure you stretch lightly. Increase blood flow and oxygen delivery to your muscles while your heart rate returns to normal by including a mindful meditation in your cool-down. It will allow your body to revert to its normal working state, where it can more quickly mend minor muscle rips or strains caused by overuse.
Light exercises and stretching after a dancing class helps speed up the recovery and cooling down process, even if the program doesn't push you to your physical or mental limits. One of the best times to stretch is immediately after a dancing lesson when your muscles are already heated and your joints eager for movement. By boosting blood flow and recuperating from the accumulation of lactic acid in your muscles, stretching and foam rolling after class can lessen muscular stiffness the following day.
Activities to Do on Rest Days
Active recuperation that includes injury prevention measures, such as light cross-training on rest days, is highly recommended. Even within dance, it is possible to cross-train. Hip-hop dancers can benefit from a jazz class since it allows them to practice its rhythms and clarity without sacrificing their sense of fun. Ballet dancers could benefit from taking a tap class on their days off to increase their ankle mobility and lower body freedom.
Pilates and yoga are activities that many dancers find helpful in addition to their regular dance training. Pilates helps develop core strength essential for stabilization and the controlled application of force in dancing. Ballet dancers could benefit from taking a tap class on their days off to increase their ankle mobility and lower body freedom.
The central nervous system's health improves, and their awareness expands when they meditate regularly. Meditation is a technique for relaxing the mind, typically via attention to the breath. In the face of stress or fatigue, this return to the senses, as it is sometimes called, can help your body discover the reset switch much more quickly. It's a strategy for making the most of future opportunities to recharge your batteries.
● Somatic Practices
The word somatic comes from the Latin word for body, and somatic practices emphasize the mind-body link in several ways, usually to increase awareness of and capacity for letting go of dysfunctional behaviors. Movement of any kind, no matter how mild, may improve performance, stamina, and even quality of life, and this is the premise around which these techniques work. While not strictly meditation, these practices have some of the same concepts, such as concentration on the breath, an effort to let go of judgment, and an awareness of the present moment.
One of our most vital physical processes is sleep, and scientists are learning more about its significance for healthy muscle repair every day.
Sleep is crucial for dancers because it allows our muscles to recover. Not only does this help our body heal, but it also gives our minds a chance to refresh. Sleep quantity and quality correlate with memory and recall abilities. Getting enough sleep can make you more alert when learning choreography and when attempting to recall it as the music plays.
The preceding instances are all short-lived. Taking a few days or weeks off from dancing might help with long-term recuperation, especially after an accident. Many professional dancers have testified to the necessity of taking a break from dancing to let their bodies heal.
However, similar to the short-term healing process, the healthiest approach is often active unless you're dealing with ailments that necessitate rest and a much-needed break for the body. Summer is a perfect opportunity to try something new and cross-train in other dance or sports forms because students typically have more free time during this time of year.
At our dance studio, we care deeply about our students' well-being and always recommend the best practices to heal, rest, and recover. Dance Classes OC is the most professional and complete OC dance academy. Everyone on our dance faculty has extensive professional expertise in the genre they teach. Our professors are picked not just for their academic credentials but also for their engagement with the learners. Contact us for more information!