6 Ways Dancers can Improve Endurance

Many rigorous sports require intense physical activity where athletes need to be active for long periods of time.  Therefore, building up endurance in preparation for events like games or competitions is crucial. Dance is just as much a sport as anything else, especially when it comes to competitive dancing.  During these events dancers will often dance for several minutes, nonstop.  That time is extended if they dance in more than one round or category. Because of this, it is essential for dancers to work on their endurance to make sure that they don’t get too exhausted throughout the day.  Here are some ways you can increase your endurance and ensure your energy stays at an optimal level for your next dance event.

 

Eat!

If you want to feel more energized, make sure you’re eating foods that will give you a boost.  Anything containing a good amount of vitamins B6 and B12, potassium, fatty acids, protein, and carbohydrates should give you the nutrition needed to make it through a full day of dancing. If you enjoy coffee or tea, drinking a cup before you dance can also give you a temporary burst of energy.  If you aren’t a fan of caffeine, there are various supplements you can take to manage your energy level. Try to avoid skipping meals, as well.  A lot of people avoid eating before they dance for reasons such as nervousness or fear of getting sick, but it’s important to have a small snack on hand if you know you haven’t eaten in a while.  Eat a healthy, balanced breakfast hours before you go on stage and that will be the best way to ensure that your body has the nutrients it needs to keep going.  Drinking plenty of water throughout the day will also keep your energy up.

 

Dance More Often

A runner can’t finish a marathon if they haven’t been training by running long distances.  Similarly, dancers should prepare for long dance days by dancing as much as they can. Dancing at least once a week is good if you want to raise your endurance for a short performance or a party, but if you are preparing for a competition, practicing twice or more a week is ideal.  While rehearsing, it’s best to practice your routines as if it is actually competition day.  Dance your routines full-out and practice transitioning from dance to dance without stopping so that you get an accurate feel for how your rounds will be.

 

Go on Walks

Much of your dancing ability relies on your feet and legs, so it’s healthy to move around those parts of your body outside of the dance studio.  The easiest way to keep your legs active is to go on walks.  It’s one of the simplest exercises you can do and you can set your distance and pace to whatever you prefer.  If you feel like you can handle more of a challenge, you can upgrade to jogging or running, but all these exercises are great because they get blood circulating through your body and condition you to stay on your feet for extended amounts of time.  If you can walk or run a mile or two, you can definitely dance for hours!

 

Work on Arms and Posture

Feet and legs aren’t the only body parts that get fatigued while dancing.  If you’ve tried to keep your back straight or arms steady in one position for a long time, then you might know how tiring it can be.  If dancers aren’t used holding a dance frame for more than a minute or so, they may find their arms and backs aching fairly quickly. Building strength in your arms, shoulders, and back is a good way to make sure your arms don’t tire out on the dance floor. You don’t even need to head to the gym and pump iron; you can do arm and shoulder strengthening exercises without weights or practice holding your arms in certain positions for as long as you can.  Constantly working on good posture will also help strengthen your back and shoulders so that you can dance longer without getting tired.

 

Take Care of Your Body

Many people get tired because of soreness or aches in their legs or feet.  As a dancer, the best thing you can do is to take care of your body and treat any injuries you may have.  If you feel constant pain, make sure you see a doctor or physical trainer.  The most common ballroom injuries are in the hips, knees, shins, ankles, and Achilles tendons.  To prevent injuries you should always warm up and stretch before dancing, cool down after you rehearse, and do strength and conditioning exercises to build up resistance to injuries.  It’s also a good idea to wear gear such as ankle and knee braces if you know you are recovering from a previous injury or if you feel weak in any of those areas. 

 

Get Enough Rest

You wouldn’t try to drive a car if you knew it was out of gas, so you should treat your body the same way.  If you are having trouble with endurance, you may just need to rest up and come back at a later time.  Rehearsal and practice time are very important, but you also need to remember to give yourself time to recuperate from the hard work that you put in. This doesn’t just mean stopping to sit and drink water for a few seconds (which is still very important).  You should also make sure that you are getting enough sleep each night, especially leading up to a major dance event.  You may not realize it at first, but too much sleep deprivation can affect you physically and mentally, making you feel more tired on the dance floor. If you notice that you are a person that never seems to get enough sleep the night before a big performance or competition, try getting as much preparation for the event out of the way as soon as possible.  If you do this, you’ll have more time for sleep!

 

Happy Dancing ^_^