Pushing the limits and getting through hours of rehearsals leaves us all tired and sore! But day-in and day-out soreness can make getting into the studio or onto the stage something that we dread rather than look forward to! Here are some ways to recuperate faster, and take care of those aching dance bodies:
Hot baths: Soaking in a hot bath with two cups of Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) and one cup of baking soda diluted in it will help with inflammation, muscle cramps, and joint pain. This combination of elements will also help you flush toxins, ease stress, and improve concentration and energy production. Plus these ingredients can be found at any drug store, grocery, and even the 99 cent store! If you don’t have a bath tub, this can still work for you! Put hot water and a smaller portion of the two ingredients into a bowl, and soak a wash cloth in the mixture and apply it as a hot compress onto your sore muscles. Remember for acute injuries or sprains, ice for the first at least the first 24 hours before applying heat.
Nutritional balance: Soreness can be the body’s way of letting us know it needs certain vitamins, minerals, or fuel.
Skip the sugar in anything you eat
Drink water with electrolytes for hydration (like SmartWater),
Make sure you are eating enough protein and not skipping or going too long between meals (protein bars should always be in your dance bag! I like Green+ brand)
Take a high quality calcium/magnesium supplement daily, particularly at night
Arnica Montana: This herb is excellent for muscle soreness and bruising, and can be applied topically with a crème, or taken in tablet form as a homeopathic remedy. Both are typically available at health food stores
Warm Up and Cool Down: Make sure you are taking the time to warm up your muscles and also to cool them down. Working up your range of motion with stretching and an appropriate warm-up will reduce your incidence of injury, and cooling down with easy stretches will allow your muscles to release their working tension and lactic acid – which is one of the culprits of sore muscles. Light stretching before you go to bed is also a great idea to avoid waking up stiff or with cramping!
R & R: Rest and relaxation can provide you with the perfect remedy for fatigue and soreness – which can be signs of over-training. If you have the option, sleep in and do some light stretching throughout the day off. Your muscles and your nervous system will be able to power-off and restore themselves during the rest.
Bodywork: Massage therapy and other bodywork modalities can assist you in working your muscles and moving toxins out and good blood in. Massage can reduce spasm and cramping, increase joint flexibility, relax injured and overused muscles, ease stress, reduce recovery time, and more. What we can’t help on our own with stretching and strengthening, rest, hot or cold compresses can often be helped by a reputable practitioner.