So, dancers and their fitness – In a nutshell, a lot of us are not actually ‘fit to dance’.
Any of you who have been to any of my talks, workshops, classes, have emailed me, skyped me, or just entered into a longer than average conversation, will have almost definitely have heard me say this.
Dance UK’s research found that around 80% of dancers get injured each year. That’s a big number. Susan Simpson, the physiotherapist of the New Zealand School of Dance, states that 90% of dancers injuries are due to fatigue.
The Oxford dictionary describes fatigue as “a reduction in the efficiency of a muscle or organ after prolonged activity”. To me this results in a simple conclusion of, if you get to tired, you could get hurt. Simple answer, being to get fitter.
To reduce fatigue you must look at three areas.
Lacking in any one of these three will result in some sort of fatigue that can lead to some sort of injury.
Roughly broken down, dancers fitness should look at aerobic training, anaerobic training, and strength training. These are my three basic staples of a ‘fitter dancer programme’
Your nutrition should always hit maintenance levels. Below this you are not maintaining yourself, and slowing your development and training potential.
You body needs rest to recover. When you train your muscles, you make little tears in the muscle fibers; these need time to repair. If you went rock climbing and you had a rope with a fray in it, would you think twice about using it? Er… yes. It would probably not be as strong as a fresh brand spanking new rope… that fray could become a little tear, that little tear will at some point snap… the body needs new ropes. Let it recover.
Once we understand these three areas we can look at developing them. Primarily, in the case of the fitter dancer, developing fitness thresholds. Better aerobic system. Better anaerobic system. Better, stronger muscles.
For many, dance is about expression, but it’s also a physical art. A greater physical potential, for me, is a gateway for greater expression through movement.
Through supplementary training to compliment our dancing we can move quicker, jump higher, move for longer, lift people, land safer and reduce a lot of injuries.
There is a lot of good to be had by becoming a fitter dancer.