For dancers, the body is not just ‘the body’ but the means to achieve. Maintaining your optimum health and ensuring you are always at your peak is a constant thought in a dancer’s life at the best of times, but with the colder months ahead of us, it is something that requires even more attention.
In terms of general wellbeing, the winter brings cold studios and difficult warm ups in order to prepare the body sufficiently. Dancers must be particularly aware of chilblains (from resting parts of the body on heat for prolonged periods of time) and stress to joints in the cold: your body must be suitably warm for the dance class, rehearsal or performance ahead.
What a dancer puts into their body during winter is also highly important. It is much easier to eat healthily during summer when salads and light dishes are most appealing. However, when the cold comes it is all too easy to ‘treat’ ourselves (treat being the operative word) to a hot chocolate or chips. A treat once in a while does no harm, but lots of unhealthy choices can cause problems. It is easier to think of your body like a car. A petrol car cannot run on diesel: you have to fuel your body with the right things, as it won’t work sufficiently if you fuel it with with things such as processed food, which won’t aid your overall performance.
It is also important to eat to maintain a healthy immune system, which will fight germs and mean you can dance properly, sooner. Multivitamins can help, but best is the consumption of cereals, protein, dairy and lots of fruit and vegetables, full of antioxidants. Soups can be a great way to have a hot, nutritious meal whilst dancing all day. Regular meals containing all 5 food groups will maintain a healthy balance meaning your body will be ready to face the winter!