How to stay fit and healthy over the summer break
The academic year is over and it is finally time for a well-deserved break for dancer’s bodies and minds. An intensive dance training demands an extraordinary degree of strain, discipline and physical/emotional stress. Classes, assessments and performances highly motivate dancers to push their own boundaries and even step beyond them. Summer is great time to relax, take care of your body and recover from an injury, although it is very important to keep maintaining your fitness level, balancing between training and relaxation. At Trinity Laban Health, we have put together some top tips that may help to keep fit and healthy over the summer break.
1. Do not stop completely!
Once the lessons are over do not stop straight away! Slowly decrease intensity and hours of training, keeping your body active: continue to take dance classes, where possible 3 times a week. If you cannot take dance classes, keep a daily routine of exercises (at least 30 minutes a day) or Cross-train your body in a way that complements your dance training. There is a good number of activities you can do over the summer taking advantage of the nice weather: swimming, cycling, running, Yoga classes and outdoor activities can be an option to replace dance classes.
2. Have a plan for the summer
A structured plan throughout the summer will help to keep you active and ready to start again in September. Creating a timeline can to help to manage this plan. For an eight week holiday, slowly decrease the hours and the intensity of training, rest for about 10 days and then gently and progressively start to exercise in order to stay fit and start the new academic year in the best possible way.
3. Eat well and Sleep well
Choose a healthy, balanced diet and keep hydrated: always keep a water bottle with you! Try to find some time to rest and sleep, this would give your body the energy to fight off accumulated stress and stay strong. A balanced diet and enough rest would give your body time to revitalize and have an appropriate amount of energy for the next day.
4. Warm-up, Cool-down and stretching exercises
It is very important to keep warming up and cooling down before/after any physical activity: warm-up protects you against injuries and cool-down speeds up regeneration. Summer break is a good time to work on your flexibility but remember that you should not stretch unless you are warm! Here there is a list of Dos and Don’ts for stretching:
- Do add a stretch routine to your training regimen.
- Don’t be sloppy when you stretch and use extra caution when a partner is helping you. Partners do not necessarily know your limits and may not be able to feel your level of resistance.
- Do remain focused: pushing your body and manoeuvring yourself into unstable positions can be unsafe.
- Don’t forget your dance technique when you are stretching. Alignment and placement are just as important when stretching as in a dance class.
5. Intensives/ Summer Schools
Intensive workshops and Summer schools can be highly demanding for your body as full of classes and activities to try. In order to avoid injuries, prepare your body! If you are trying a new dance technique, try to find out as much as you can about it and work on specific areas of the body that specific class will explore. For example, if you are going to a Cunningham technique intensive, you would have to work on your core, alignment and start mobilizing your upper back. This would help you to avoid injuries and be ready for the class demand.
6. Time to rehab if injured
If you had an injury over the past few months this is the best time for the injured area to rest and build up strength. It is the right time to have your injury assessed by a professional physiotherapist and together you can develop a rehab plan that would help you speed up the recovering process. Although you need to rest, keep your overall fitness up: you can use gentle techniques such as Pilates to progressively come back to training.
TL Health wishes you all a great summer: have fun, relax and stay healthy!
Giovanna Piccolo, Administrative Intern for Health
Sonia Rafferty, Senior Lecturer at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance
Simmel, L. (2014). Dance Medicine in Practice. London, UK: Routledge. 179-181, 225-228.