Joyful Dance Laura Stanyer

Joyful Dance Laura Stanyer

Monday 2 May 2011

How to Stay Hydrated - Avoiding Dehydration

The human body is made up of approximately 70% water. We loose water by sweating and breathing during physical exertion. Water is an important part of our body it is important that we replace water that we lose from our daily activites by increasing our fluid intake.

It's important to keep well hydrated throughout your day and is essential when engaging in any type of physical activity such as running or dancing. The duration of your exercise sessions, heat, humidity and sweat produced are all major factors to consider when keeping your body in proper fluid balance.

Dehydration impairs your physical performance as you only need to loose 2% of your body weight as fluid for your performance to become noticeably impaired.

Hydration Tips:
  • Start hydrating early. Drink a glass of water when you first get up in the morning
  • Take a water bottle with you and sip all day long to maintain body temperature
  • Drink before you get thirsty. Thirst is a sign that your body is already dehydrated
  • Try sipping at least half a pint of water 30 minutes before physical activity
  • Replenish lost fluids by sipping water every 15 minutes during physical activity
  • Continue to drink water even if you think you have quenched your thirst
  • Only drink fruit juices after a hard workout, it can help with re-hydration and replenish glycogen
  • Don't forget to drink water when engaged in physical activity in cold weather. You still lose fluid it's just not as noticeable

Sweating occurs when your body temperature rises 0.5 degrees above normal you will loose water, in the form of sweat. It evaporates from the skin taking the heat with it. Without sweating, your body would overheat and would eventually collapse from heat exhaustion.

Fluid Replacement
Replace the water lost through sweating during physical activity but be aware individuals loose water at different rates so some may need to drink more than others.

However here are general guidelines for hydration during physical activity:
  • Drink 500ml (2 - 3 glasses) of water 30 minutes to one hour before your physical activity
  • Drink 200ml (1 - 2 glasses) of water every 20 minutes during your physical activity
  • Drink at least 500ml (2 - 3 glasses) after your physical activity

Signs of Dehydration

Checking the colour of your urine is a good indicator as to your level of hydration:

What about Sports Drinks?
Water is recommended as it is easily absorbed. Sports drinks that have selected levels of carbohydrates and electrolytes are created to maintain fluid levels and prevent fatigue. This can enhance performance by fuelling the muscles during exercise. Research has shown that a solution containing electrolytes and carbohydrates may help to retain fluids consumed after prolonged intense exercise.

CAUTION: Be careful not to confuse sports and energy drinks, sport drinks do not contain caffeine but do contain water, carbohydrates and electrolytes (generally sodium and potassium) to provide energy and aid hydration. However, energy or performance drinks have a variety of supplements and often stimulants that dehydrate you. Always read the label and evaluate the safety like you would any other supplement. If there is more than 10% of sugar it is an energy drink not a sports drink.

How to Stay Hydrated - Things to Avoid!
Avoid Too Much Caffeine
Consuming too much caffeine and high sugar energy drinks is not the best idea during physical activity because they actually slow down the rate of fluid absorption.
Caffeine is found in:
  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Energy drinks
  • Colas
  • Fizzy drinks

Avoid Alcohol
Alcohol acts as a diuretic and will increase water loss. Drinking too much alcohol, especially on a regular basis, can increase the risk of health problems. It is a poor fuel source and has a very slow rate of metabolism. If you drink alcohol before physical activity your judgement will be progressively impaired, physical performance will be badly affected as there is a loss of co-ordination. Do not drink alcohol after physical activity as it doesn't replace fluid loss and can prevent the refuelling of your glycogen stores. Be aware a hangover reduces your endurance ability the next day.

WARNING: Avoid drinking alcohol for 24 hours after muscle or soft tissue injury. Drinking large amounts of alcohol may increase swelling after injury and hinder the repair process.

Hot Weather
Exercising during hot weather will result in extra fluid loss leading to dehydration. Try to avoid dehydration, heat stress and poor performance by adequate fluid replacement during your summer physical activities. Remember only a small degree of dehydration will cause a decrease in performance, which arises in the late stages of your physical activity when performance is most important. Dehydration contributes to fatigue and thirst is a poor indicator as it is a late signal of severe fluid loss so it is important to replace fluids throughout physical activity.

Disclaimer: The information contained on this web page is intended as general guidance and information only. and its authors accept no liability for any loss, injury or damage however incurred as a consequence, whether directly or indirectly, of the use this information. All advice on this web page should only be used under the supervision of a qualified dance / fitness / healthcare professional.

Skills in Dance

What is a dance skill?
Simply a skill is the ability to repeatedly perform a technique with the desired result.  As we practice dance movements we learn by making mistakes we begin to select and perform the right techniques at the right time repeatedly with accuracy.

What is technique? Technique is the key movements of any dance practice, a pirouette in ballet or a windmill in break dance are examples of technique. As we develop our dance skills we combine a number of techniques into a sequence of movements or dance.

Skill types
Performing the skill with maximum efficiency prevents the waste of extra energy in unnecessary movement. Dance requires considerable mental activity as dance consists of sequences of complex movements and we need to learn these techniques.

Types of skill:
Simple Skills
Motor skills for example, walking, running and jumping all require considerable co-ordination
Complex Skills
Intricate body movements or complicated motor skills with extra control
Learning New Skills
It is essential to break it down into its basic phases when learning a new skill. Improving each phase will then improve the whole skill.

Cognitive Phase
1st stage of learning a skill, you''re shown how to perform the skill, attempt it learn from trial and error. This can be enhanced by relaxation skills.
Associative Phase
Learning by repetition and practising the skill; refining the skill which takes time and conscious practice. This can be enhanced by using visualisation
Autonomous Phase
Skills are performed automatically; the dancer can focus their attention on performance.

Processing Information
In the early stages of motor learning (cognitive phase) the movements often feel uncomfortable and clumsy. It is important to understand how we learn new skills. The brain takes on information and uses it as part of a system, the information processing system:
The information that comes in through our reflexes and senses
The brain then makes a decision about how to react to that input then tells the body how to respondThe brain creates new neural pathways so movement becomes smooth and refined. The practice of skills through constant, exact repetitions (associative phase) is often clumsy at first as the brain strengthens the neural pathways the movement becomes refined. Then pre-programmed automatic multi-muscular patterns are developed (autonomous phase). This allows dancers to perform complex movements without conscious thought.

Visualization allows the skills to be practised mentally to avoid the risk of overuse injuries enhancing new neural pathways without overworking the body. See the visualization article.

We receive feedback from ourselves, dance tutor or from the results of our actions. This information feeds back into our brain and it makes another decision on how to respond.

Types of feedback are:
Internal feedbackThis is received from propriceptors in the muscles and joints which send information to the brain, how the movements feel. This body awareness is crucial to a dancer
External feedback
The information received from the outside, sound, vision e.g. seeing a video of your performance or verbal feedback from a choreographer, audience member or dance tutor

The dance tutor can give the right kind of support if they understand which phase of learning you are in. As a dancer breaks down the skills to practice and perfect, improvements of each skill will lead to improvement in learning new movement sequences.

Positive guidance is essential, and can be gained in many ways:
Visual Guidance
This can be given through the use of video. If a dancer can see what they are doing wrong adjustments can be made more easily. Note: with mirrors a dancer can perceive themselves to be performing correctly

Verbal Guidance
From an experienced instructor is indispensable. They will discuss, demonstrate important details of the skills

Manual Guidance
With the use of touch an tutor will correct the alignment of the dancer, giving them an idea of what the body should feel like

Encourage dancers to evaluate their own performance to enhance self awareness. Being aware of how the movement feels when performed accurately can enhance performance and self confidence.

Peer guidance
Can be considered as dancers can support and encourage each other within the learning process.

Managing mistakes
If mistakes are observed by the dancer through observation for example a video recording it is important to assess and establish the reasons for the mistakes.

Reasons mistake may occur:
  • Inadequate physical abilities
  • Inability to understand the movement or quality of movement
  • Inappropriate use of power, e.g. throwing weight too fast off point of balance in pirouette uncoordinated movement or sequence of skills
  • Lack of concentration or fatigued
  • Inappropriate clothing or foot wear
  • Environment  e.g. hard floor
With the dance tutor or choreographer the reasons for mistakes can be established and the various factors such as costume can be resolved or specific guidance can be given.

Information Overload
Some input from our senses is discarded or set aside by the brain. Focusing on everything the senses and reflexes send to the brain would make decisions too difficult, resulting in information overload. Information is filtered out by the brain it sends only useful information through for processing.

If you are overworked in dance training or rehearsal without adequate rest and recovery periods you can feel disorientated as if there are too many messages being sent from the brain to the body and they feel like they can’t get through. If you do feel disorientated or fatigued you are receiving signals to stop rest and recover. Ideally rest and recovery periods are programmed into your training or rehearsal schedule.

Information and Memory
Memory allows the brain has to draw on to help inform the decision-making process. The process of interpreting the input and checking against the memory is called perception. These extra aspects are added to the information processing system.

Short Term Memory
Information is stored for a short period of time, if the information isn’t needed it vanishes important information will be passed on to your long term memory
Long Term Memory
Has an enormous capacity to store information, in dance it will hold each skill, technique sequence, choreography and past performance.

Understanding how skills are learnt, processed and retained you can create a higher level of self awareness and enhance your true potential in dance.

Disclaimer: The information contained on this web page is intended as general guidance and information only. and its authors accept no liability for any loss, injury or damage however incurred as a consequence, whether directly or indirectly, of the use this information. All advice on this web page should only be used under the supervision of a qualified dance / fitness / healthcare professional.

The Importance of Warm Up and Cool Down in Dance Practice

It is essential to understand the importance of warm up and cool down to prevent injury and fatigue. It is important to be aware we are all unique and each of us responds to physical dance practice differently however fundamental training principles apply to everyone. It is essential that time is given to warm up and cool down as they will improve your physical ability and accelerate the recovery process after dance practice.

During dance practice or any physical activity performance your body has to work hard to adapt to higher levels of stress. It is important to warm up your body in preparation for the increased energy demands.  Also we focus the mind by using visualizations.

Why is it important to warm up for dance practice?
Warm up is very important it prepares the body for physical exertion, participating in fifteen minutes continuous movement that builds with intensity so you engage your cardiovascular system.

Dance warm up aims to:
  • Raise internal body temperature by 1 - 2 degrees
  • Increase heart rate and blood flow to the muscles
  • Mobilise joints to increase the synovial fluid
  • Raise speed of transmission of nerve impulses
  • Prepare mentally and physically for dance

What is included in a dance warm up?
In power dance practice the first part of our warm up engages in continuous rhythmical activity that raises the body temperature and increases blood supply to the working muscles and is dance based activity that is very simple and rhythmical until your body is warm.

Step 1 of a dance warm-up:

  • Simple rhythmical movements for 10 minutes
  • This raises internal body temperature 1 - 2 degrees
  • Increase heart rate and the blood flow to the muscles

We engage in mobilisations of the joints, small mobilisations gradually increase the range of motion; an example of this is shoulders rolls that build up to arm circles. We mobilise all the major joints that we are going to be using.

Step 2 of a dance warm-up:
  • Mobilisations of the joints
  • Gradually increase the range of motion
  • Increase the synovial fluid in the joints
Next we stretch using static stretches stretching the major muscle groups, hold each position for 10 seconds slowly breathe never feel pain and never bounce. Ideally we perform the stretch with each muscle group two or three times make sure we perform the stretch on both sides and the agonist and antagonist of each muscle group. These stretches are specifically designed for warm-up they are not there to increase your range of motion they are just there to prepare your body for the next section of your class, rehearsal or for performance.

Step 3 of a dance warm-up:
Gentle static stretches of major muscle groups
Hold the position for 10 minutes breathe naturally
Never bounce or feel any pain
Another part of a dance warm-up is practicing specific skills ready for the dance practice ahead we practice movement that will be a part of our dance practice.

What are the benefits of a dance warm-up?
The benefits for an effective power dance warm up; the body will be prepared for strength, speed and neuromuscular coordination, complex moves. Oxygen reaches your muscles more efficiently this enhances muscle contraction. It can prevent muscle soreness after your dance practice or physical activity. Warm up is designed to prevent the risk of injury and also prepares the mind and body to concentrate on the task ahead.

Benefits of an effective dance warm-up:
  • Prepares body for complex movements
  • Aids muscle contraction and relaxation
  • Can reduce muscle soreness
  • Prepares mind and body for dance
  • May minimise the risk of injury
In addition to the physiological effects, the warm up has the effect of preparing you psychologically by encouraging you to focus on the dance or physical activity to follow.

Why is it important to cool down after dance practice?
It is equally important to cool down after each practice. The body must make a number of adaptations during the recovery period before it returns to normal, and this does not happen immediately.

During vigorous physical activity the body''s systems are put through extreme stresses. This leads to an increase in body temperature, heart rate and blood pressure. Your heart has been pumping blood around the body the muscles have been pumping the blood back to the heart if you suddenly stop the blood pools in the muscles this starves your heart and brain of blood supply and that is why you may feel lightheaded or dizzy.

The body also releases hormones such as adrenaline and endorphins into the circulatory system. If a dancer just stops after an intensive class, the high levels of adrenaline and endorphins can cause a feeling of restlessness and even a sleepless night.
Additionally, there is a build up of excess fluid and waste products in the muscles; this causes stiffness or soreness. These can be prevented by continuing to work the major muscle groups in a gentle, rhythmic fashion, gradually slowing down, bringing down your breathing rate and your heart rate back to a normal state, reversing the warm up process.

Due to the increase in tissue temperature straight after dance practice is an ideal time to stretch and improve or maintain joint range of movement and flexibility. Remobilise the major joint you have used and repeat your static passive stretches which you can hold for about 15 seconds each muscle group. Hopefully this will reduce the rick of injury and prevent muscle soreness. Ideally perform a cool-down straight after your activity before you have a shower, make sure you rehydrate drink water and put on layers of clothing on to keep warm. In power dance practice the cool down is choreographed as a part of the practice including massage and relaxation.

Cool down for dance practice includes:

  • Gradually reducing the intensity of activity for 10 minutes
  • Remobilise joints help to flush out waste products (Lactic Acid)
  • Perform static stretches of major muscle groups hold for 15 seconds normally performed on the floor (never bounce or feel pain)
Benefits of cool down in dance practice:
  • It decreases body temperature and remove waste products from the working muscles aids your recovery
  • It prevents symptoms such as light-headedness and dizziness caused by the pooling of venous blood at the extremities
  • It prevents muscle soreness and Delayed Onset of Muscle Soreness (DOMS)
  • It promotes relaxation
We participate in a cool down as a part of our dance practice, it is important to always make sure you rehydrate after physical exertion and wear warm dry clothing so you are encouraged to bring water and extra layers of clothing.  We also engage in massage to enhance recovery. 

Disclaimer: The information contained on this web page is intended as general guidance and information only. Laurastanyer accepts no liability for any loss, injury or damage however incurred as a consequence, whether directly or indirectly, of the use this information. All advice on this web page should only be used under the supervision of a qualified dance / fitness / healthcare professional.

Fitness, Health & Well Being

With the hectic pace of our 21st century lifestyle it can be easy to overlook the importance of our general health, fitness and wellbeing. Being physically active is a good way to maintain general fitness. Activities and exercise such as long walks, jogging, sports and dance can all increase fitness levels as well as helping to relieve the effects of stress. It is also important to maintain a sense of wellbeing, the capacity to live a resourceful and fulfilling life and having the resilience to deal with life challenges. Go to our shop page to download visualizations and massage videos to enhance well being now.

Aspects of Health and Well Being

Physical Health
Physical health is the ability to meet the physical demands of everyday life and the varied physical demands of our chosen physical activity without reducing us to a fatigued state. The body systems function efficiently with no illness or injury.  We are able to meet various demands of our physical activities effectively and efficiently without excess stress or strain on our physical, mental, emotional or spiritual well-being.

Mental Health
Good mental health is the ability to cope with the mental and emotional pressures of artistic, work, social, and family life. You may be able to adapt mentally to the changing environment of work, training, social, spiritual, family and leisure. You can also have and maintain a positive outlook on life.  Mental health problems can describe temporary reactions to a painful event, stress, lack of sleep, physical illness or trauma either physical, mental or emotional.

Spiritual Health
Spiritual health is in essence to be able to look beyond the physical body, seeing how the mind, body and soul are interconnected. Spirituality and health are closely connected, when one part is stimulated, it affects the other parts as well as yourself as a whole. Health in a spiritual perspective is concerned with the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual aspects of our being. This holistic approach looks at the whole being to understand and to create balance and harmony.

Social Health
You may be able to make friends and socialise with ease. A sign of good social health is the ability to receive help from others, make a contribution to the community and be valued by it. You may be able to develop positive relationships with a wide variety of people from different cultures and social environments.

Element of Fitness
There are various elements of fitness and are divided into:

Health Related Fitness
Health related fitness is keeping the body fit for general health and incorporates the following components:

Cardiovascular Fitness
The ability of the heart and blood vessels to supply sufficient oxygen levels to the body. This is required for sustained prolonged periods of time. For example the working muscles while dancing in an evening performance. This also involves the lungs and respiratory system. The heart, lungs and blood vessels need to work efficiently to achieve a good aerobic capacity.
Of all the element of fitness, cardiovascular fitness is the most important to develop as it enhances all the other components of conditioning. See the additional article on cardiovascular endurance.

Muscular Endurance
Muscular endurance is the ability of the muscle or group of muscles to work for long periods of time without muscle fatigue. We need this to be able to work, rest and play in our modern day lifestlyes.

Strength is normally measured by the amount force the muscles can generate against a resistance. Holding or restraining an object or person, for example holding your own body weight in a press up. See the additional article on muscular strength.

Flexibility is the ability to achieve the range of motion within a joint that our soft tissues and joint structure will allow. Flexibility is an important part of fitness that you need to maintain, you lose flexibility as you grow older. Always remember to warm up. See the additional article for more on flexibility.

Skill Related Fitness
Each physical activity requires specific skills although these elements are required in everyday life they are essential for us to reach optimum performance. The term skill is referred to the ability to perform a technique in the correct way.

The components of skill related fitness are:
Co-ordination is the ability to use different senses and body parts together. We often need limb and body co-ordination or hand-eye co-ordination is needed in various activities.
Balance is the ability to control the body''s position while standing still or moving.  We all have to balance when we are standing, sitting or walking. When you move from your centre of gravity (centre of mass), you keep yourself upright as you shift your body weight to prevent falling over.
Agility is the ability to change the direction of the body quickly. Many physical activities require good agility to perform a series of sudden movements in opposite directions sucah as, tennis, football or dance.
Speed is the ability to perform a movement or cover a distance in a short period of time sucah as sprinting and dance like break dancing.
Power is the ability to exert maximum muscular strength instantly in an explosive burst of movements. For example a dancer needs power in his/her legs to lift their body for explosive jumping.

The ability to perform a skill at the exact time it is needed. In dance the correct timing might be in time with the music or the correct timing needed in unison or partner work. Reaction time is the time it takes to respond to a stimulus. The stimulus could be another dancer running ready to be caught, or reaction to a sound or visual cue.

Other Aspects of Fitness
Body Build
Body build will be a factor in your ability to engage in various physical activities.
The body build comprises of:

Body Alignment
Body alignment refers to the correct balanced alignment of the postural muscles that maintain an upright posture. Good neutral alignment refers to the relative alignment of the body parts stacking one upon the other supported by the muscles that allows the joints to be free of excessive stress or strain. See Postural Alignment article for further information.

Body Size
Body size refers to a person's height and weight. The ideal size is very subjective and depends on the activity you are engaged in.  There are standard ideal weight charts based on an individual's height. These tables do not always help us because they do not allow for body composition. Being over the standard weight is not a problem provided it is extra muscle and not fat.

Body Composition
Body composition refers to the relative percentage of muscle, fat, bone and other body tissues of which the body is composed. Often body composition looks at a person's body fat percentage as it is important for your health to maintain a good body fat percentage.

It can be difficult to reach a good level of fitness if your body is underweight, you will be unable to store enough energy to keep you going. Being underweight can also mean that the body does not build muscle tone, and can cause joint injuries as fat pads cushion the joints.

In general the higher the percentage of body fat the poorer the performance as it can be difficult to reach a good level of fitness if you are carrying extra weight.
We all differ in shape and size, however the average acceptable body fat percentages are:
Male: 15%  Female: 25% - Women naturally have more body fat than men to help their bodies during pregnancy.
Keeping body fat under control can be very difficult for a lot of people. The way to stay an appropriate weight is to keep a balance between energy we intake from food and the energy we burn through physical activity.

Body Type
There are 3 extremes of body types:


A pear shaped body
A rounded head
Wide hips and shoulders
Rounded shape
Less developed muscles
Higher % of body fat on the body


Athletic looking body
Harder, muscular appearance
Rectangular or hourglass shape
Wide broad shoulders
Muscular arms and legs
A minimum amount of fat


Thinner, fragile frame
Narrow shoulders and hips
A narrow chest and abdomen
Thin arms and legs
Delicate or lightly muscled frame
Little body fat

All of us are made up of the three extreme body types so we are all a mix of Endomorph, Ectomorph and Mesomorph. It is important to remember we are all unique and there is no ideal but a mixture or all aspects of fitness, skill and mental, emotional and spiritual fitness and well-being.

Positive Mental Attitude
Another aspect of health-related fitness and skill-related fitness is positive attitude. A good mental attitude will help the body achieve high levels of fitness. If a person has decided that they are not skilful enough or not flexible enough or not strong enough or not fit enough, then they are going to have a difficult time working past these ingrained attitudes to achieve even basic fitness for health. 

Being Your Best Visualisation
Being Your Best Visualization by Laura Stanyer

Be Fit for Activity
Ensure that you are fit enough to engage in physical activity. You should have a good level of health related fitness and your skill related fitness should be directly related and specific to the activity you participate in. Being fit for skiing is entirely different to the fitness required for dance so make sure you are aware of the skills and fitness required for your chosen activity.

Disclaimer: The information contained on this web page is intended as general guidance and information only. Laura stanyer accept no liability for any loss, injury or damage however incurred as a consequence, whether directly or indirectly, of the use this information. All advice on this web page should only be used under the supervision of a qualified dance / fitness / healthcare professional.

12 Fundamentals of Laura's Holistic Dance Practice

Progression allows your body systems to adapt to the physical demands of any dance practice. It simply means increasing the work load over a period of time. Start out with a 1 hour dance practice 3 times a week; then progress slowly as the body adapts to the physical demands. Progression feels very natural as the exercises feel easier over time; increase the intensity, duration or frequency.

Overload just means doing a little more work over time, as you become fitter and stronger. Dance for two hours every three days is fine to maintain a level of dance skill. Increase training, duration or intensity as you progress.

Slowly and progressively adjust your training using the FITT factors:
  • Frequency - How often you do the exercise, be it an individual set or the complete session
  • Intensity - The difficulty of the exercise: it could be the speed you move or level of class
  • Time - The duration of exercise: for fitness, at least 20 minutes a day/ skill work, 3/ 5 sessions per week
  • Type - What kind of exercise: vary what you do to keep it interesting, and to work all the different muscles

With Variety Comes Motivation

Variation allows you to avoid staleness. If training becomes monotonous it can lead to poor performance or even injury as it can impair concentration. In dance practice it is important to vary routines to maintain motivation levels.

Engage In Overall Wellbeing

In dance practice it is important to develop a balance between physical fitness, strength, flexibility, rhythm and dance skills. I focus on self expression and well being through visualization, massage and relaxation. Be aware of the demands of the technique and consider what muscles and types of fitness are emphasised in the style. All dance training should include a mix of cardiovascular (CV), strength and flexibility training. 

Replenish Energy Drink Water

Water is vital to the human body and plays an important role in regulating the body\'s temperature especially during physical activity. Water is lost through sweating so it is important lost fluids are replaced. See the article on how to stay hydrated for more information.

Train To Sustain

To maintain peak fitness levels when your not able to make it to regular dance practice make sure you engage in a physical activity once a week. This maintains you current fitness level. The body loses muscle tone more rapidly than it is gained, if you don’t use it, you loose it!
A general ratio is 3:1
  • Missing one week's physical activity requires three weeks to recover the same level of skill and fitness
  • If you are unable to train for a length of time, begin with regaining your cardiovascular level. This will help your body fuel the muscles where you need to rebuild strength

Over Train Can Strain

Over training can lead to overuse injury or fatigue, balance exercise and rest. Training hard 7 days a week will have diminishing results. Avoid over working and stop doing any activity that causes you discomfort or pain. Remember pain is your body's warning system! This is the reason why power dance practice includes warm up, cool down, massage, relaxation and visualization techniques.

Develop Your Lung Capacity

Deep breathing affects our physical and mental well-being and can increase our vital lung capacity which can improve energy levels and enhance our performance. See the additional article on breathing.

Allow Time to Rest

Give time for rest, recovery and relaxation. Allow the body to adapt to the physical stresses of training. It is best to exercise every other day or 3/4 times a week, interspersing days of rest and days of training. See the additional article on relaxation.

Nutrition Is Important

Nearly every function performed by the body needs energy and we receive energy from the fuel we eat. Good nutrition, eating a wide varied diet can help us recover between our dance practice. It is important the body's energy reserves are adequately maintained. See the article on healthy eating for more information.

Creatively Enjoy Learning

It is important in dance to have fun and enjoy the learning process. Worrying blocks us, let go of your inhibitions, be open to learning and express yourself allowing you to reach your true potential. See visualisation article to help with learning.

Every Individual is Unique

We are all unique and each of us responds differently to dance practice and everyone has different needs. We vary in height, size, shape and preference. We may have similar goals but may not reach them by the same means. It is important to develop self-awareness, what is right for you and your body and your unique way to express yourslef and creativity.

Disclaimer: The information contained on this web page is intended as general guidance and information only. Laura stanyer accepts no liability for any loss, injury or damage however incurred as a consequence, whether directly or indirectly, of the use this information. All advice on this web page should only be used under the supervision of a qualified dance / fitness / healthcare professional.

Sunday 1 May 2011

Dance Injury Treatment and Recovery

When injury occurs the sooner the injury is assessed, managed and receives appropriate treatment the sooner you will recover and it's less likely the injury will become chronic. However, if you ignore the warning signs and symptoms the longer an injury can take to heal. It can be frustrating waiting for an injury to repair but some dancers return to training or performance too early and this can lead to more problems.

With all injuries, it is vital that medical advice is sought so a positive diagnosis and treatment follows. The following information provides simple guidelines always seek medical advice.

Assessment and management of dance injuries
Immediate injury assessment - STOP

Stop - Stop the class or activity
Talk - Ask what happened, describe how it happened and what type of pain you are feeling
Observe - Look at the injured body part, compare it to the adjacent body part for swelling, heat, redness or loss of function
Protect - If possible immobilise the area to prevent further damage
Immediate and early management - RICER

Rest - Reduce the metabolic demands of the injured area. Stop participating in the activity and lay or sit down
Ice - Apply ice 10 minutes maximum, limits the damage, reduces temperature, limits the bleeding
Compress - Apply a compression (or tubigrip) bandage to the injury. This controls the amount of swelling
Elevate - Lift above heart level and support the injured area. It lowers the pressure and helps to limit the bleeding
Refer - Seek medical advice as soon as possible to receive appropriate treatment, rest and rehabilitation

Continue RICER 48/72 hours after injury, applying an ice pack for up to 15 minutes every 2 hours for the next 48 to 72 hours, it relieves pain and prevents excessive swelling. Note: never apply ice directly to the skin.

WARNING! DO NOT apply ice:
  • If you have circulation problems
  • Over open wounds
  • Directly onto skin (wrap a towel between the skin and the ice)
  • If you cannot feel sensation in the injured area
  • If it causes you pain
  • For the first 48 to 72 hours after injury - NO HARM

NO Heat - Heat increases swelling and blood flow to the injured area
NO Alcohol - Alcohol increases swelling (do not or eat or drink during acute stage)
NO Running - Any exercise activity can cause more damage to the injured area
NO Massage - Massage can cause more damage to the injured area

IMPORTANT: Always seek medical advice, after care advice and rehabilitation.

Injury Management
Understanding the correct management of dance injuries can help you minimise the risk of further damage and maximises the chances of a full recovery. Common injuries in dance are mainly soft tissue injuries.

Areas of dance injury:
  • Tendon - Joins muscle to bone
  • Ligament - Joins bone to bone at joints
  • Cartilage - Pads the bones in the joints

Types of dance injury:
Acute - This occurs suddenly, often with severe pain, for example, a sprained ankle
Chronic - This happens over time as a result of overuse, e.g. tendonitis and can continue for prolonged periods of time

Common Soft Tissue Injuries in Dance:
Injury   Description
Strain Over stretching of the muscle or tendons, which may result in a partial tearing or pull e.g. torn hamstring
Overuse When damage builds up gradually as minor overuse causes micro-trauma to occur over a continued period of time
Sprain The joint and ligaments are stretched beyond their normal range of motion e.g. sprained ankle. Sprains can vary in severity
Tendonitis Occurs when the tendon or its sheath becomes over-stressed or inflamed. Often in dance due to overuse
Bursitis A bursa is a small sac which becomes inflamed within a joint caused by pressure or friction

What Is A Serious Injury?
For serious injuries prompt medical attention minimises damage and will help speed recovery.

CAUTION: This information is no substitute to a relevant first aid or professional medical advice.

Injury Symptoms What To Do Next
Fracture (broken leg) Pain, swelling and deformity Trained person splint area and seek medical help
Sprain (ankle sprain) Pain, swelling, reduced r.o.m. (range of motion) RICER (see above) seek medical help and physiotherapy.
Strained Muscle (hamstring pull) Pain, swelling, reduced r.o.m. RICER seek medical help and physiotherapy.

What Is A Minor Injury?
In dance minor injuries occur more often than serious injuries. However, they might have serious long term consequences if left untreated and therefore it's advised to seek medical treatment if problems persist.

Injury                         Symptoms                                               What To Do Next
Overuse (e.g. shins) Activity increases tenderness and pain RICER decrease activity, see a physiotherapist
Shin Pain            Painful, swollen shins. Worse with jumping RICER see your doctor or a physiotherapist
Muscle Soreness    Pain during or after activity                     RICER see your doctor or a physiotherapist
Cramp                 Muscle spasms                                           Rest, drink fluid, stretch, adjust training, seek advice

Advice After The First 72 Hours
Self Massage
NEVER massage the injured area and do not massage at all during the initial acute stage (48 - 72 hours) of injury. Under the advice and guidance of a massage therapist, it can be useful to massage the surrounding muscles around the affected area to promote healing. CAUTION: this should not cause you sharp pain, if it does, STOP. Always seek professional medical advice.

Heat Treatment
This can be beneficial only AFTER the initial acute stage (48 - 72 hours) of injury. Under the advice and guidance of a doctor or physiotherapist heat can be applied to promote healing.

Many dance injuries can be prevented with appropriate conditioning and training (see the fitness and cardiovascular endurance articles), wearing appropriate clothing, and working in the right environment. Unless you are trained in first aid, you should never try to treat a casualty. Always seek medical assistance.

Injury Recovery Visualization

Injury Recovery Visualisation by lstanyer

NEVER listen to this audio recording when driving or when you need to concentrate on a particular task.  Only listen when you can relax and not be disturbed from any distractions.

This audio recording will guide you into a state of relaxation, it is best to be comfortable and either sit or lay down in a comfortable place free from distractions.

We advise you listen to this audio recording through headphones for best results.  To begin with, it is best to listen on a daily basis to develop your visualisation skills.

Disclaimer: The information contained on this web page is intended as general guidance and information only. Laura Stanyer/Power Dance System and its authors accept no liability for any loss, injury or damage however incurred as a consequence, whether directly or indirectly, of the use this information. All advice on this web page should only be used under the supervision of a qualified dance / fitness / healthcare professional.