People dance for different reasons: for fun, relaxation, well-being. Dancing is a great way to become more active and developed, improve your mental and physical health. Among the huge number of dance styles, everyone can choose their own, according to their preferences and physical fitness. But even the simplest styles and exercises can cause injury. Why do they happen and how to avoid them?
Tips for keeping your body safe while dancing
Most often, beginners are prone to injuries in dancing. Their body is not yet accustomed to constant stress and complex exercises. Inexperienced dancers often break the rules by forgetting about the warm-up or doing the steps incorrectly. You can reduce your risk of injury while dancing by following these simple tips:
- If you have a serious chronic illness, are overweight, or are over 40 years old, be sure to see a doctor for a check-up before taking up dancing.
- If you already have problems or injuries (especially your feet, ankles, or lower back), be sure to check with your doctor before starting dancing.
- Choose a dance style that suits you not only for your soul, but also for your health. It is important to have a basic understanding of the state of your own body and personal capabilities. For example, dancing with jumping and vigorous movements is not recommended for people with arthritis.
- Before proceeding to the main steps, be sure to thoroughly warm up and do exercises, which should include stretching exercises. This is very important for preparing the body for dancing.
- Both beginners and professionals are advised to take breaks between dances, during which, in addition to rest, it is useful to stretch the body a little again.
- Drink plenty of water before, during and after dancing.
- Choose suitable, non-restricting clothing. Beware of body overheating. If you feel a little chilly at the beginning of class, throw some comfortable clothes over your main suit so that you can easily take them off later. Carry a towel with you to wipe off sweat in time and prevent hypothermia.
- Good dancing is not possible without professional shoes, specially designed for them, in accordance with a certain dance style. Such shoes will properly distribute the load on the foot, soften the blows and support the muscles.
- Don’t force yourself to dance too long or too fast, especially if you’re a beginner.
- Concentrate on proper posture and dance technique. The transition from one dance movement to another must be technically verified so as not to endanger the muscles and joints once again.
- Talk to your instructor if dancing causes you physical discomfort and you feel pain. The trainer can change the training plan and exercises, adjusting them according to your health in order to reduce risk factors.
- It is sometimes useful to just sit and watch how other participants in the class dance in order to better analyze their mistakes.
- Make sure you get enough rest between dance sessions, especially if you’re new to dancing or not in very good shape. This will help minimize muscle pain and injury.
Risk Factors for Dance Injuries
Some of the factors that can increase your risk of injury while dancing include:
Beginners are more vulnerable to injury as they do not have the skills and experience in their chosen dance style. Make sure you follow your trainer’s instructions exactly.
- Poor physical condition
Weak muscles are more likely to be injured, especially during exercises that involve stretching or sudden movements. In addition to dancing, it is useful to do regular exercises or jog to keep the body in good shape.
- Bad technique
It is necessary to strictly observe the technique of performing pas. For example, if you hit the floor with your foot with more force than necessary, then it is easy to damage the soft tissues and even the bones of the lower extremities.
- bad posture
Weak back and abdominal muscles increase the risk of damage to all parts of the body, including the spine and legs.
A tired dancer is a bad dancer. A tired body quickly loses its fitness and defensive reaction, so unexpected falls and injuries in such cases are most likely.
- Bad conditions
Injuries can be caused by a warped carpet, a hard or uneven floor, liquid spills, or things thrown around the area. It is important to eliminate all these obstacles before starting dancing.
- Lack of measure
Dancing for too long or with excessive effort is another dangerous item to avoid in order to prevent injury. Everything is good in moderation, especially for beginners and those who already have injuries and health problems.
- Poor health
Training when you feel unwell (including the common cold) or, more importantly, with an untreated injury should be strictly prohibited. Otherwise, the condition of the dancer may seriously deteriorate.
Common dance injuries
During dancing, various injuries occur. But there are among them the most common:
- sprains and sprains — occur when muscles and ligaments are overloaded or overstretched;
- blows, bruises — they are caused by a fall, a collision with other dancers or with any object, props;
- blisters, bruises, and ingrown toenails are caused by ill-fitting dance shoes and can lead to serious foot health problems.
What to do if you get injured while dancing
Even if you listen carefully to the instructor and try to do all the exercises correctly, injuries can still happen. The main thing is not to get lost, to act harmoniously and quickly. Here are some tips:
- If you feel pain, stop. Continuing to dance can only worsen the situation.
- Report the incident to the instructor.
- In the resting position, carefully examine the body for damage (bruises, sprains and deformities). If possible, apply ice or something cold to the injured area of the body. This will help alleviate the sensation of pain and reduce swelling.
- Even with what you think is a minor bruise or blow (especially in the knees, back and ligaments), consult a doctor as soon as possible. Proper diagnosis and treatment will protect you from complications.
- Do not resume dancing exercises until you are fully recovered. Otherwise, an acute injury can develop into a chronic one.
Warm-up exercises before dancing
An indisputable rule for any dancer is a preparatory warm-up. Dancing without it is better not to start. Here are some simple exercises to warm up before your dance class:
- Start from the head.
Gently tilt it first to the right, left, forward and backward, and then make the same non-sharp circular movements. Do it within 2-3 minutes.
- Break up your brushes.
This will protect them from damage to the tendons. It is necessary to squeeze the brushes into a fist and gently rotate them first clockwise and then counterclockwise about 10-15 times.
- Work your shoulders.
Remember school physical education. Shoulder girdle exercises were a must for her. Putting your hands on your shoulders, rotate them alternately forward and backward at least 10 times. Then swing with fully open arms, in which one arm goes up, while the other goes down also about 10 times.
- Lower back workout.
This is where slopes are needed. With them, too, everything is simple. With your hands on your belt, for about 2-3 minutes, tilt in all four directions. An excellent move is the well-known exercise “Mill”, when in the forward tilt position you need to reach your left toe with your right hand, while your left hand is fully extended and directed upwards. Then with the left hand you need to reach the right toe and so about 10 times for each hand.
- Stop warm up.
They are involved in all dance steps, so their warm-up is especially important. As once in kindergarten, first look at the inside, and then on the outside of the feet. Standing on one leg or sitting on the floor, rotate each foot for at least a minute.
This is perhaps the simplest and most effective exercise for warming up before dancing, which also charges you with a great mood. Feel like a child and jump from the heart.
It is worth moving on to it only after all the previous exercises, so as not to harm the body. The level of difficulty of stretching for each of the dancers must be selected individually. Your instructor will help you with this.