The Key to Dancing Better, for Longer
You can be in tremendous physical shape, be flexible as Gumby, yet still get exhausted after a few dances. Our muscles start failing us, and we can’t think clearly or stay focused on our partner. The secret lies in improving our physical and mental endurance, through what we eat, what we do, and of course, how we dance.
Today, we start with the habits professional and experienced dancers have adopted to increase their physical endurance.
Dancing uses up a lot of energy, and B12 vitamins combined with amino acids are some of the best fuel you can get. Nuts, fish, eggs, and meat are all good choices. Lighter meals are wise an hour or two before you start dancing – heavier meals can make you sleepy, while not eating at all is the same as going into the Indy 500 on an empty tank. Drink lots of water and electrolytes, and keep up your supply throughout the evening – as much as 1.5L/hour, if the dancing is hot and the AC is broken.
During the day’s routine, our body builds up nasty toxins, and suffers tears in the soft tissues. Sleeping allows your body to repair and replenish, so everything continues to work smoothly. Think of it like a well-oiled machine, that runs smoothly until it’s parts rust. The more the machine wears down, the less efficient it is, and the harder it must work to achieve the same output. So be kind to your body, and give it a much-needed R&R oil change.
No article on physical endurance would be complete without a recommendation for fitness training. Anyone building an endurance workout regime should know there’s actually two forms of physical endurance – muscular and cardiovascular. Muscular endurance measures how long specific muscles in the body can work without getting tired. Cardiovascular endurance is the ability of heart and blood vessels, as well as the lungs, to efficiently supply the muscles with fresh nutrients and carry away waste products. No workout regime is complete unless it targets both of these systems.
It’s not what you do, it’s how you do it. Great dancers know how to make steps look easy. And in a way, they are easy – for their bodies, at least. By learning the most efficient way to move, dancers can maximize their energy output without breaking a sweat.
Now that we’ve summarized what we can do to help us improve our physical endurance, it’s time to break down each section. Next up, learn how to build a dancer’s diet!