So it’s been a few months now…and lots of dancers are well into the groove of dancing from home. Most of you are doing incredibly well at making this challenging adjustment. Well done! It’s not easy. The purpose of this article is to give you a couple of tips on how to continue this dancing from home safely. Even if you have a good home setup, the tips below include ways to help avoid overuse injuries that we’re just starting to see in clinic now, 6-8 weeks into home dancing. It’s never too late to make changes if you are at risk of these, so read on and keep yourself safe while dancing from home….
1) Dance surface: Consider the floor you’re dancing on at home. Dance classes are often on sprung floors so your own floor is unlikely to have the same amount of shock absorption as you’re used to. If you’re doing a class with a lot of allegro, this can lead to shin splints (or other bone stress injuries). To avoid this, consider wearing joggers for some parts of your classes that include lots of jumping. This won’t be practical in all cases, but certainly for many petit allegro classes you can get away with this and it certainly takes pressure off your shins. Alternately you can improve the shock absorption of your floor by purchasing tarkett (a floor covering that you can buy by the square metre). This will assist with the cushioning as you land, but is never the same as a sprung floor unfortunately. Try to avoid consecutive classes that each include lots of jumping. Even with tarkett and joggers, your bones will cope better with a recovery day between high impact days when dancing from home. Talk to your teachers in advance if you feel you need a lighter session on a particular day. They may not realise that you’ve had a particularly vigorous session the previous day, and will appreciate the heads up.
2) Avoid dancing from home in socks or bare feet where possible: Socks are too slippery to use as an alternative to dance shoes, and bare feet lead to many injuries as a result of being too sticky. When dancing barefoot it is too easy to catch an individual toe, and roll over on that toe as a result. We are seeing lots of big toe injuries in particular at the moment due to this! With the exception of wearing joggers for classes with lots of jumping, for the majority of your classes wear your normal dance shoes. They will offer the best combination of grip and allow smooth movement across most floor surfaces at the same time.
3) Find a space with good wifi access and avoid distractions: It can be tricky to find a space at home without distractions. Pets, siblings, tv playing loudly in the background…..they all contribute to an environment where concentration is difficult….and injuries occur when you’re not concentrating! Chat to mum or dad about where you might be able to set up your dance space with good wifi access, and where you are least likely to be distracted. Pets running under your feet are cute, but are also masters of distraction and therefore best kept away. Similarly, try to shut out background noise. Ask your family to use headphones if possible if they’re using devices at the same time, or experiment with using earpods yourself while dancing. So long as they’re a good fit, this can be a good way to hear the class more clearly, and improve your focus.
4) Ventilation: Especially as we head into Winter it can be tempting to warm up a room before you start your class. The problem with this is that your body is very effective at heating itself once you start dancing, and a room can become too hot and stuffy very quickly. Avoid pre heating your dance space. Even better, if there is a window you can open, or a fan you can switch on as you get toward the more vigorous parts of your class, this is ideal. Effective ventilation is an important part of keeping you dancing safely.
5) Warm up: Consider completing your own warm up before you connect to your online class. While many online classes will include a warm up in their sessions, there is no harm in ensuring your body is ready to exercise before class. A good warm up is about increasing your heart rate, or if you like – increasing your breathing to a level where you can still talk – but you’d have trouble singing! So jogging on the spot is good. Doing some squats is good. Small star jumps, high knees, knees to bottom, or jogging up and down your staircase 5 times is good. It’s not about stretching, it’s about pumping blood around your body so that it literally ‘warms up’. Spend 3-5 mins doing this before you connect to your class.
6) Recovery: Our bodies are amazing at healing and conditioning themselves… so long as they are given time to do so. Sleep is when our bodies do the vast majority of their repair work. Muscles that have been pushed hard are strengthened. Bones that have been loaded lay down new bone cells and come back stronger. But adolescents need approximately 9 hours of good quality sleep per night for this to occur optimally. Talking to your parents about how you might strive for this is a conversation that is well worth having. Many overuse injuries can be avoided if dancers can ensure that good sleep is a key part of their daily routine.
Looking after your body while dancing from home is not easy, but it is possible with some regular consideration of what’s working, and what needs to be improved. At TPCCA your teachers are working with you to ensure this is as positive an experience as possible. Don’t forget that we are here for you too if needed.
Enjoy your time dancing at home,
Katie, Deborah, Debra and Elissa
Ph: 9948 6188
SIGN UP TO OUR NEWSLETTER
Nullam sit amet felis et arcu elementum sagittis in sit amet turpis.