Every dancer has those days where rehearsal, work, or working out just kills their muscles the day before and now they are back in rehearsal trying to lift their leg or arm and it feels like 100 pounds. Well never fear, here are a few tools that can help you heal those sore muscles quickly and safely!
Water is one of the most effective tools when healing sore muscles. Usually after rehearsal you can be bit dehydrated and drinking extra water can help keep you hydrated and flush out the stagnant lactic acid that is building up in your muscles. By drinking water or electrolyte infused water you can be sure to help keep your muscles lubricated and the toxins flowing out of your body!
*Also a glass of low fat chocolate milk after your strenuous rehearsal can help the body to recover faster. This tasty treat gives your body the sugar it’s missing, a little bit of protein, and some carbohydrates to allow your body to recover faster.
Massage, Massage, Massage! Allow yourself or a friend to massage those sore muscles. This will again allow the lactic acid to be moved around your body and promote blood flow. These two things combined, besides the fact that it feels great is an excellent way to spend some time before and after rehearsal. (Again be sure to drink a glass of water before and after a massage to allow all of the toxins to be flushed out of your body.) Taking a luke warm or cool bath after your rehearsal or massage will allow the muscles to relax and take some of the inflammation away, which can only make you feel better!
Food is another great tool to help you recover. Make sure you are getting a balanced meal of lean proteins, carbohydrates and vegetables. Eating fruits with high potassium, for instance, bananas, is also a great idea. The potassium will help to combat muscles cramps and soreness. Nuts are also good choice because they contain a lot of vitamin E which can help reduce inflammation in the body. A great fruit and nut mix can go a long way and it is something you can always keep in your dance bag to nibble at when you feel that soreness coming on, or are a little bit hungry!
Even though it kills make sure that you are warming up and stretching properly before and after rehearsal. The extra stretching will allow your muscles to stay long and lean while they are building up. Stretching extra might not feel great right away, but in the long run you will be glad you did!
Of course your biggest tool besides water is rest. Allow yourself to get a solid 8 hours of sleep at night and when you are out of rehearsal try to not do anything too strenuous. Giving your body time in between workouts or rehearsals can be your biggest asset between feeling sore for the next week or just the next few days!
I hope this helps and happy dancing, working, and working out!