Winter has started to set in, and we are all beginning to freeze! This is a time for extra-concentrated warm-ups, careful cool-downs, and stylish accessories. This handy 10-step guide will get you through the next three months.
#1. Takeaway tea in a super-cute thermos cup, to keep you warm on your trip to the studio. Choose something herbal for extra hydration, or green tea when you need a little pick-me-up.
#2. Extra layers. Think legwarmers, cross-overs, onesies, woollen shorts. Winter dance fashion is the best, but be ready to peel off the layers as required by your teacher or director.
#3. A proper warm-up. It’s essential always, but especially in winter! Get your body moving before you stretch. Raising your core temperature can be as simple as jogging around the studio or walking briskly to class (don’t forget your beanie!). Then add in some dynamic stretches (think leg swings and foot prances), and some Pilates exercises to fire up your core, hamstrings, glutes and abductors. Whatever you do, don’t sit in stretches first thing when you’re cold!
#4. Mobilise your feet. If you can’t even feel your feet, how are you going to get them to work properly?! If you’re someone who finds it hard to get any warmth to your extremities during the colder months, mobilising them is a good way to get them moving. Physically taking your foot between your hands and giving it a good massage, stimulating blood flood and also moving all of those little joints around will help wake them up and get them pointing.
#5. Also… booties. Most dancewear brands make gorgeous, comfy booties to keep those tootsies snug while you warm them up!
#6. Layer up between rehearsals. After class, don’t sit around getting cold. Rug up warm and keep moving until you’re required to dance again – time to do any extra conditioning exercises you have in your current repertoire.
#7. Hydrate. We tend to drink less water when it’s cold, so it’s important to remember to keep up your hydration during the day, especially if you’re dancing a lot. Start the day with a big glass of warm water with a squeeze of lemon and a dash of organic apple cider vinegar.
#8. Cool-downs. Don’t skip them! Return your body to a resting state gradually, working through your dynamic stretches again and adding in some longer, more static ones at the end of your dancing day. Don’t forget to keep the breath moving as you stretch, and not to hold for more than about a minute – and definitely not if you’re feeling any sharp pain.
#9. Rug up after class. If you’re going out into the cold air, make sure you layer up with warm clothes, even if you still feel warm.
#10. Go easy on the hot showers. It’s tempting to stand under a super hot shower forever in the morning, or after a long day of dancing, but try to keep the temperature down a little. Those super hot showers can really dehydrate the skin.
By Rain Francis of Dance Informa.