Kerri Anne and I both dance many times a week, doing a bunch of styles from Ballet, Tap, Contemporary, Jazz, etc. We also enjoy other forms of exercise like yoga and pilates. So we have some essentials that can be useful for almost any sport / form of exercise.
A Tennis Ball
A tennis ball is a must have in your gym bag/dance bag. During breaks in class I sometimes will break out my tennis ball. The places I tend to use my tennis ball is my feet, (this is one of the best because it breaks all the soft tissue & prevents injuries) hip sockets, upper back, lower back, calves, and the booty. I’ve attached some links below of youtube videos showing you how to use the tennis ball properly.
Icy hot is kind of like magic. If you struggle with a reoccurring injury, chronic pain, or even just recovering from a pulled muscle, icy hot will be your best friend. It comes in a few different forms (gel, spray, balm, etc.).
An Outfit You Love
It’s a fact of life that when I like the clothes I’m wearing, I dance better.
Well… It may not be a fact, but I think it’s true. Make sure you feel good in your workout clothes, but also make sure they don’t interfere with what you’re doing. I love to wear leggings, shorts, tank tops, and sometimes a light sweater. Find out what works best for you!
Drugs. . .
Yes, I am just a dancer BUT I very much consider myself an athlete. Albert Einstein did say, “Dancers are the athletes of God,” so i’m gonna go with it. So moving on, any form of medicine you can think of…i have in my bag. I will admit though that it is the worst for you. You never want to immediately go to pills when you strain a muscle or your back hurts. The B E S T option for you and your body is STOPPING whatever you’re doing, put any form of icy hot on it, use an ice pack, use a heating pad, roll around on a tennis ball, etc. Any of the more natural ways to relieve your pain is always the best option.
A human being that cracks your backs in places you didn’t know could crack is must have for an Athlete. Like seriously fam…If you don’t have a chiropractor you need to freaking
get one. It is very common for athletes & dancers to have issues with the neck, back, hips, knees, etc. If not just one of those then all of them..like me.. Some are worse than others but no matter how serious it is a chiropractor can help. I go to one at least once or twice every two weeks. It improves my movement in class and my body feels better overall when my body is aligned.
This could be an entire blog post in itself. Here’s the dictionary definition for cross training: “training in two or more sports in order to improve fitness and performance, especially in a main sport.” Most people pick a form of exercise and tend to stick to that, whether it be soccer, tennis, running, or for us, dancing. The problem with this is that we often become unbalanced, working certain muscle groups much more than others. This can become a major problem, and can lead to injury. Kerri and I often do things like yoga, pilates, and we take a stretch/strength class at our studio, which is designed to cross train us dancers. Research cross training specifically for your sport – it prevent injuries, but it will also enhance your performance!
One of the most important essentials is to really enjoy what you’re doing. If you hate playing your sport, find something else! There will always be days when you feel lazy and don’t want to do it, but overall you should be happy with how you are spending your time. If you hate going to class or practice, you won’t perform as well and will likely quit eventually. Maybe you love the sport, but hate the environment you are in. So find a different team! Make necessary changes in order to love what you’re doing… but also understand when you just have to wait out a bad season.
Good Snacks and Nutrition
We are planning a whole blog post all about our favourite snacks, particularly on busy days. Healthy eating is an important aspect of anyone’s life, but even more so if you are training. If you struggle to have a well-rounded diet, meal planning is a great tool! Research and consider what your body needs, and plan accordingly.