As a dancer, you know that your knees and back need to be in top condition. Did you know your knees absorb one and half times your body weight with every step?! This along with ageing and wear and tear can put a great deal of stress on them. Here are some great tips to keep your body at its healthiest!
One of the best ways to stay healthy is exercising, squats are a great way to keep your knees healthy, although, don’t go too low or you can cause more damage than good.
Step ups are another good way to look after your knees and core, stand facing a staircase, rotate your body 90 degrees, holding on to a bannister place the leg closest to the stairs onto the first step and straighten that leg so your other leg is off the ground. Repeat this 10 times with each leg.
Partial crunches and wall sits are some other good exercises to try. Make sure you go at your own pace, pushing yourself too hard can result in injuries!
Wearing the right shoes is paramount to the health of your knees and back, loose fitting shoes that don’t offer support such as flip flops will cause unseen damage. High heels can also cause problems if worn for long periods. I always recommend going to a shoe retailer and asking for your feet to be professionally fitted. Then I would advise a cushioned sole boot or trainer. The comfier the better!
3. Stay Active!
Sometimes it’s hard to find your ‘get up and go’. We all have our lazy days! Getting up and being active is the best thing for us though! Even with minor injuries and aches, the advice is to stay active, this stops any stiffness in your joints and with the right exercises, can heal things a lot quicker than sitting around! Not only is staying active good for your knees and back, its also great for your heart, this in turn will mean you will be active for longer in your later years!
So many people slouch without even realising! This can lead to all kinds of aches and pains. Strengthening your core and sitting correctly will massively help look after your back. Get high backed chairs instead of cushioned seats, have a seat on an exercise ball for half an hour each day, carry back packs on both shoulders as opposed to one… All these things will contribute to the health of your back!
5. Healthy Weight!
It is common sense to know being a healthy weight will benefit you in all areas of your life. Extra pounds puts strain on your back and joints, it will add more pressure to your knees as well as other areas of your body. Not only this, but being overweight and eating unhealthily will give you less energy to keep up with your daily activities. You will find you are more tired and ache more, have less motivation and sometimes lose joy in things you once enjoyed doing. Being underweight has the same effects, sometimes even more so. An extra little tip… Going out in the sun (even for half an hour) each day will boost your mood and give you the vitamins you need to remain healthy, so get those walking boots on!
6. Know Your Limits!
Every person has a different threshold, don’t try and keep up with your friends if you are struggling, keep to your own limits! If you feel pain, it is your bodies way of saying slow down, you need to listen to your own body. Little and often is better than doing too much at once. Knee braces are a great tool to have if you are planning on doing any long distance walking or running, especially if you have had any knee injuries in the past. After you have finished any exercising, give yourself time to rest, if you have any pain on your joints frozen peas or an ice pack work wonders! Just remember, staying healthy is not a competition, you do you!
What greater way to keep active than to dance?! The music will not only boost your mood it is a great way to get cardio in and keep flexible. Mingling with others will also keep your mind active and in turn, look after your body. Even people who don’t like exercising love to dance, so go and give it a go!
By Nicola Hilton