8 Ways to Relax After Dance Classes
Dancing is a labor of love. But, some days, all you want to do is be at home in sweatpants with a tea infuser steeping in a mug of hot water and a book in your lap.
Dancing, especially ballet, has many impacts (beneficial and detrimental) on the body. It’s an aerobic exercise that can help with weight control and cardiovascular health. It also increases core strength which improves your balance, coordination, and posture.
To dance, you need to take care of yourself mentally and physically, which is why treating your body after a long day of dancing is important. To give you some ideas, we’ve compiled a list of 8 ways to relax after dancing.
Have a Snack
If you dance all day, you have hopefully been snacking along the way to provide fuel for your muscles. Pick snacks that are portable and don’t mind being tossed around in your bag with a water bottle, shoes, tea infuser, and anything else you might need during the day.
Eating after any rigorous workout is helpful in preventing muscle soreness, and promoting muscle repair and growth. To maximize these results, you should eat within 40 minutes after exercise and eat a 4 to 1 carb to protein ratio.
Take Care of Your Skin
Humans sweat primarily to regulate body temperature. There are many benefits to sweating, including opening up pores and expelling toxins from the body.
However, as you sweat out those toxins, it’s important to wipe them away from your pores before they shrink again, trapping the dirt inside. Between dance lessons, you should wash your skin with a mild cleanser or facial wipes.
Furthermore, after a long dance session, pamper your skin with a scrub, herbal bath soak and or a facial mask. If you have cucumbers, put two on ice to chill and place on your eyes for a refreshing moment.
Just as stretching is important to a dancer’s warm up, it’s equally as important for the cool-down. Spend about 10-15 minutes stretching to cool down your body properly.
To work out larger knots, try using a foam roller. The repetitive nature of dance overworks a dancer's muscles, causing them to tighten. You can use a foam roller on virtually every part of your body, but do avoid your joints.
Another great trick is using a tennis ball to relieve tension in the arches of your feet. It’s like a mini foam roller for your feet!
Always Have Ice on Hand
If you feel any particularly tender spots after stretching, ice is probably the way to go. You never know when you might need to treat an injury or overworked muscle, so always having ice in your freezer will save you a trip to the store.
Freezing water in paper cups, frozen sports packs, and bags of frozen peas will all get the job done when you need to ice your muscles.
Relax Your Scalp
For many dancers, getting their hair out of a tight bun is one of the first things they do after their workout. Having your hair tied in the same way all day can be uncomfortable for many people and can even create a feeling of stiffness in the hair follicles.
After you’ve taken out all your hair accessories, give your scalp a massage to loosen muscle tightness. If you’re planning on getting in the shower, run warm water over your head to reduce muscle tension in your scalp.
Speaking of a shower, a hot shower or bath is a great way to relax your muscles after a long day in the studio. If you’re feeling extra luxurious, treat yourself to a bubble bath or dissolving shower tablet as you soak away your tension.
If you have easy access, sitting in a steam room or sauna can also help relieve built-up tension in your muscles. Just remember to shower after!
Like dance, there are many different types of teas. They can give us a boost (black tea), heal us (green tea, peppermint tea), or relax us (chamomile tea). In the evening, you’ll want to stick to chamomile, hibiscus, or rooibos due to their low caffeine levels.
At the end of a long day of dancing, nothing’s better than to curl up with your best tea infuser steeping in a mug and your favourite show on Netflix. A tea infuser is a great tool because it allows the tea leaves to bloom more, providing a deeper flavour in your tea. They’re also highly portable and easy to clean.
Mindfulness is the ability to be mentally present in a current moment to internal and external environments. The key of mindfulness is not to be reactive to what you’re observing, but rather to simply observe what’s going on.
You can practice mindfulness anywhere you are and for as short or as long as you like. Some people prefer guided mindfulness exercises, and you can find tons of apps to help you along.
In conclusion, relaxing is absolutely essential to any routine. It’s all about balance. From foam roller to your best tea infuser, be mindful in the importance of relaxation and be sure to include relaxing into your regime.