A little over one generation ago, the field of dance medicine barely existed, but nowadays we are lucky enough to have access to orthopaedists, podiatrists, chiropractors, psychologists, physical and massage therapists and many of them specialise in treating dancers.

Today’s dancers are much better off than the dancers of yesteryear in the treatment and prevention of injury. Teachers nowadays are also more aware of the importance of safe and careful training.

According to a recent study published in the Journal of Dance Medicine and Science, 90 percent of professional dancers who had had an injury reported that they had felt tired at the time that the injury occurred. 80 Percent injured themselves during high-intensity work and 79 percent had danced at least five hours prior to injuring themselves. The results speak for themselves and ballet dancers must learn to pay attention to their bodies. If you feel that you are exhausted and you need a break, take it and don’t force yourself to go across the floor that one last time.

Ballet dancers must aim to have realistic schedules planned with enough time between classes and performances for adequate rest. Be extra careful and diligent during periods of intense dancing, for instance where you have extra rehearsals or late night performances. Make sure to get enough rest and eat well. Place careful attention to your warm-ups and stretching and most importantly listen to your body.

Make sure that you also get enough sleep. Athletes require more sleep than nonathletes, just as teenagers require more sleep than adults. Busy people often deny themselves the sleep that they so desperately need to function at their optimum.

Here are some more pointers to help you as a ballet dancer to avoid injury and make the most of your ballet dancing.

– Always stretch and warm-up before dancing – this one is a must.
– Wear shoes that fit properly and are in good condition – your feet have to last you a lifetime.
– If your muscles feel tired and strained, adjust your activity level.
– Dance on a smooth and preferably a sprung floor with a non slip surface.
– Avoid dancing on concrete at all costs.
– Work on strengthening your weaker muscles to avoid joint injuries.

If precautions are taken and ballet dancers learn to look after their health and listen to their bodies, they will be able to enjoy their ballet dancing well into middle and old age.

For more ballet food, visit: http://balletdancing4U.blogspot.com

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