Welcome back to a new year. Today I want to touch on safe dance practice in warm weather. It's not the most enthralling topic but it's super important, especially in this hot weather. So here are our top tips for being the best dancer you can be in this warm weather:
Make sure that the clothing you are wearing to class is suitable for the style you are taking. For instance, it can be really tempting to wear bikeshorts on a hot day but if you are headed to contemporary class, you are putting your skin at risk. Contemporary utilises the floor a lot and hot, sweaty skin doesn't slide easily on the floor, putting you at risk for floor burn. Ouch! Leggings or skin coloured tights to the knee will product your skin in contemporary classes and are an absolute must. In other classes, such as ballet, floorwork isn't such an issue so on really hot days skip the tights and wear bike shorts with your leotard to stay cool. Make sure you know the requirements of your class and try to wear the lightest clothing you can in the hottest weather to avoid overheating.
Similar to clothing, not having the appropriate footwear for dance can put your feet at risk - and they're pretty important for a dancer. Check out what footwear you will need for class and make sure to have it with you. Footwear can also get quite damp and sweaty in the summer so it's important to dry out it. Don't leave your shoes in the bottom of your dance bag in hot weather - take them out and air them. Foot undies can even go on the washing machine (not the dryer though!).
Even though it's hot it's important to make sure you still warm up. Take some time to class to move around and get your body warm, and make sure you are on time to class so you don't miss the beginning warm up exercises.
We're having unusually hot weather this summer, so make sure you have a water bottle with you for class. After class make sure to go home and drink water, especially if it's been a particularly intense class or you've stretched lots. Drinking water helps to flush the lactic acid from your muscles and reduce soreness the next day.
It's just as important to cool down as it is to warm up. A cool down is a slower exercise or series of movements that helps to lower your heart rate. Usually this will be part of your class but if you feel like you haven't cooled down enough get in a couple of quick stretches at the end of class to help your heart rate return to normal.
Treating Soreness, Floorburn or Injury
Sometimes it happens, we push just a little too hard and we end up sore the next day. If this is the case, remember the good old RICE and if it doesn't start to improve in 3 days consider seeing a physio. Floorburn can be pretty nasty and often we don't realise we've done it until it's too late. Floor burn is a lot like carpet burn and comes from hot, sweaty skin sliding against the floor creating too much friction. It's not a major issue but it can hurt. Prevention is best, but if you do get floor burn, clean it with a damp cloth and keep it covered for a few days to avoid ripping the skin further.