Dance Aftercare

dance aftercare article-04

The sweat, the heat, the feels! The thought of doing a new choreography, learning a new genre and hearing the song we’re supposed to dance to gets your adrenaline pumping. You do your usual preparation of wearing your dance shoes and dance clothes before coming for lessons, you do team stretches and groove along to the song. Eventually, the session ends and everyone says their byes. Next day you wake up with a sore muscle and can barely move out of bed.

Your body is your greatest asset as a dancer and you should take care of it in every aspect possible! Taking care of your body doesn’t just mean exercising (via dance) to keep it healthy, there’s the aftermath that needs to be taken note of too to prevent making things worse for yourself like incurring injuries for example.

COOL DOWN

We exercising to take care of our health, and yet a lot of dancers – or active people in general – often forget or choose not to do this last step due to time constraint, laziness, or just hate stretching.

Cool down is described as the “period of low-impact or slower exercise following a more intense workout to allow the body to gradually return to its normal physiological level.” This is contrary to warm-up where its main purpose is to increases “heart rate and raises muscle temperature” before the actual activity – in this case, dance. Despite their differences, both help to reduce the chances of getting any injury.

The good thing is that cool down sessions don’t have to take very long. It can be done by simply swinging your arms back and forth while moving side to side and lunges for 10 seconds each time. There are also multiple tutorials online on how to do quick 5 minutes cool down with videos.

Here’s what our friends have to say:

“I use a massage ball to help relax the muscles and ensure that there is no knots. It makes sure that I am ready to go the next time I dance (which is often within six hours or less).” Gwen Yap (@gwenacino)
“Loads of warm up and rolling of muscles and tight spots using a foam roller, physiotherapy massage trigger balls, tennis balls. Running around till my joints are warm before I go into my deep stretches and splits and using yoga blocks/mats to do back stretches too and oversplits.” Jasmine Cheong (@jasminecheonghm)
“I’ll do an intense warm down. Split for at least one minute each side to condition the muscle.” Andrea Lim (@andreasaralim)
“Usually after trainings, we will stretch together and cool down.” Ritzel De Jesus (@ritzxx_)
Usually after I have a dance session I would stretch, to cool down. “ Conde Suguitan (@condesugi)
“Don’t know if this is common amongst street dancers, but rolling out tight muscles is actually very impt! Either with foam rollers or balls. If not can lead to injury” Kimberly Tan (@kimsahamidah)
“Water and stretching!!!!and then food hehehehe” Kathy Lim (@kathylxy)
“Hahaha, i just go bath and try to stretch my muscles in the bathroom and massage the tensed parts.” Zhou Lijing (@sunshinencitylights)
“Answer: i don’t (stretch)
Result: injured at every joint
I’m irresponsible and don’t stretch properly after dancing, even if I stretch it’s probably only when I sitting down then I just reach for my toes that’s all.” Dion Chew (@dionchewy)
“Trying to stretch more often now after dance but still working on it and it defo works.” Munira (@heyyoomoon)
“Stretch, legs up (leaning on wall) for 10-15 minutes.” Apolo (@carissaapolo)
“If I’m too sore and stuff, I’d just use the foam roller I have at home sooo not much.” Kayla Baliwag (@kaylacharissa)

OUTFIT CHANGE

And no, we’re not talking about dance costumes. If sweat and bad smell are not enough to gross you into making you change out of your dance clothes, then maybe these bad effects to your body will. Think clogged pores, bacterial infections, body acne, and skin rash!

Sweating is definitely beneficial for you and can sometimes show the amount of effort you’ve put into exercising, but you shouldn’t go around parading with it. You’ll just stink and might even catch a cold. Bring along a set of clean clothes to change into after you do a quick clean up with a little towel, some wet wipes, or deodorant. This will not only help you look (and smell) presentable, but it will help you feel fresh after that workout.

If you have the chance to hit the showers after your dance session, that’s even better! Make sure you get rid of all the dirt and sweat off your body. You want to go the extra mile by bringing some slippers to change into to let your feet breathe. There are also many aftercare products nowadays that cater to pampering your feet like Lush’s Pumice Powder to exfoliate your feet and remove dead skin, or Softy Foot Lotion to keep your feet smooth without scrubbing it, or even T for Toes which keeps your feet dry and fresh!

Here’s what our friends have to say:

“I take time to soak my feet in salted water(gets rid of inflammation and soreness) ice bucket freeze therapy. Tiger balm is necessary when recovering from injury. I have to moisturise cuz it’s so cold and dry plus I have dry skin. And in studios I can’t apply it as its a safety hazard so I have to let it absorb overnight.” Jasmine Cheong (@jasminecheonghm)
“I make sure I wipe my sweat clean after practice cause i got eczema and change out if need be. Spray some body mist.” Iffah Nadhirah (@iffahnadhirah)
I would take a shower to remove the dirt the accumulated on my skin whilst dancing (especially on my face) and to remove dried sweat. Usually I shower with warm water to open the pores and remove dirt and stuff and then cold to close the pores and relax the muscles (for no body aches)” Conde Suguitan (@condesugi)
“Warm shower” Carissa Apolo (@carissaapolo)
“I always bring a towel to wipe my sweat with and a fresh shirt for me to change into. Sometimes I bring shorts to help cool me down faster.” Jezreel Castro (@jezzyreigh)

FOOD & WATER

Drinking water is just one of the ways to cool your body down after dancing. Amongst its many benefits, water helps to — after exercise. Just try avoiding drinking cold water! I know the rush of cold water going down your throat feels so “shiok, but this can send your internal organs into shock with the temperature difference between what your body and what you’re putting into it.

Suppers are a great way to bond your crew, so if this is part of your itinerary, you might want to do so at least two hours before hitting your bed. This will ensure that your body has time to digest your food in an upright position and to prevent any health problems.  

Here’s what our friends have to say:

“I drink and replenish with protein shake when my schedule gets too strenuous and my muscle fatigue is very bad. I bring loads of chocolate and sugar to survive classes…ESP that time of the month. I eat smaller frequent meals so I don’t like or feel bloated for classes and not in a food coma to focus. Inject more fruits, healthier options so your body gets nourished properly got your muscles to work and sustain Long hours. Also the muscles need repair so protein is a must every meal and of course LOADSSSS OF H20. I treat myself to more sugar to replenish used energy too with Supper!” Jasmine Cheong (@jasminecheonghm)
“Eat al-azhar.” Jirel Yu (@jirelyu)
“I would also eat outside to replenish the energy and calories I burnt, drink water to or course to stay hydrated.”  Conde Suguitan (@condesugi)
“Eat chicken.” Rachel De Jesus (@rachel_dejesus)
“Water makes me less thirsty the more I drink it, unlike sports or sweet drinks. It’s just more readily available, especially since at night (our usual class times) canteen isn’t open” Laura (@monolauge)
“For me mostly i only drink a lot of water, but cannot drink too fast if not will wanna puke, try not to sit down immediately bc it reduces your stamina, i’m guessing maybe cos your heart rate will lower down very suddenly?” Dion Chew  (@dionchewy)
“After dance I’m usually thirsty and will down lots of plain water. I always bring along a bun or energy bar cause after practice sure hungry” Iffah Nadhirah (@iffahnadhirah)
“I just stretch & drink water really HAHAHA” Kayla Baliwag (@kaylacharissa)

SLEEP

It’s about the quality and not the quantity… or the length in this case.

If you’re crunch for time and practice ended late, it’s important that you make sure you get enough sleep. As sleep encourages healing, a recommended 8 to 10 hours of sleep is required for your muscles and tissues to be fully repaired. Sleep also helps the immune system stay strong and healthy. Lack of sleep can even cause you to be less alert and your body to have difficulty in fighting common infections. This is especially important during production or competition week when you’re expected to be at your tip top shape! You can’t rely on your adrenaline alone.

If you have difficulties in sleeping, you may want to do a few light stretches. Not does it only help your muscle loosen up from your dance session, it also clears and relaxes your mind.

Here’s what our friends have to say:

“I have a lot of trouble sleeping most days ESP when stressed or before important days. I do use an app to do meditative renewal to clear my mind and then I pray before I sleep. An app that plays rain sounds helps me sleep better too; I love rain sounds. Late nights are tough I’ll stretch while I meditate on clearing my mind so unwind so I don’t keep thinking about rehearsal.” Jasmine Cheong (@jasminecheonghm)
“Breath. Breathe. Sleep.” Nina (@nuril.nina)
“I dance to keep fit and to de-stress. Usually the dance session will be tiring enough to knock me out. But if that’s not the case, I just lie on the bed until sleep takes me. Try not to use my phone or laptop especially if it’s past 12 midnight. I also use salonpass on areas that I can feel pain forming to help me sleep better at night.”  Jezreel Castro (@jezzyreigh)

Don’t forget to take care of yourself and listen to your body! The “after exercise” shouldn’t be disregarded or overlooked as it may cause injuries which can eventually affect your performance (both literally and figuratively).

Don’t let your aftercare be an afterthought.

 

*This article is sponsored by Lush.

 

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