Dancer Health

The dancer’s winter survival guide

dancer's winter guide

Sunny, warm beach days are in the past, and winter is upon us! While winter certainly can be fun (cute beanies and hot chocolate, anyone?), as a dancer, being cold is…not cool! So make sure you take care of your body – from head to toe – during these months of frigid temperatures with these tips below. 

#1. Layers, layers, layers.

Layers can be your best friend during the winter. Bundle up on your way to the studio, and you can always remove layers as your body is getting warm during classes and rehearsals. We love a good hoodie, and this Adult Grey Long Sleeve Fleece Hoodie from Só Dança is super cute and cozy; we just may be able to live in it if possible. Other faves include this Soft High Neck Sweatshirt and the incredibly warm Bi-Material Down Jacket, both from Repetto. 

And don’t forget those legs! Só Dança’s Adult Relaxed Fit Pants are perfect for street to the studio and back again, and the Repetto Warm-up Suit is a classic warm-up layer sure to keep those limbs limber. And of course, leg warmers! They’re an easy and cute way to keep your ankles warm and toasty. We love the look of Repetto’s Light Pink Warm-up Gaiters and the Black Ankle Braces, too. 

#2. Even in the cold, hydration is key. 

We tend to not drink as much water when the weather is cold, but keeping yourself hydrated is super important year-round. During the winter, drink more water than you think you should. Sports electrolyte drinks or water with electrolyte tablets are great for keeping hydrated, too. You could even add a splash of tart cherry juice and pineapple juice to your own water bottle, which can encourage drinking and also reduce muscle soreness. Stay hydrated in style with this Athlete Drink Bottle. It comes in a range of colours, it’s made of BPA-free material for safe drinking, and the “Athlete, Artist, Dancer” message is one to broadcast to the world! 

#3. Warm up and cool down – give your body extra love. 

A proper warm-up is necessary always, but especially in those colder months. Get your body moving and blood flowing before you stretch. Some of our simple warm-up go-tos: jumping jacks, a few laps around the studio, squats, walking lunges, leg swings or even just walking briskly to class (dressed warmly, of course). 

And don’t skip those cool-downs! Ease your body back to its resting state with some dynamic stretches or gentle yoga poses. Don’t forget to breathe deeply and fully, and don’t hold any stretch much longer than a minute. Stop if you feel any sharp pains. Listen to your body

#4. Stay dry. 

You’re bound to work up a sweat in any class, any time of year. But if you’re headed back outside in the cold afterward, consider changing out of your dance clothes completely into some dry, warm clothes. In cold weather survival, staying dry is the first rule. You probably won’t be going on any arctic expeditions, but keeping dry will at least ensure you are warm and comfortable after class. 

#5. Consider tea as your post-cold beverage.  

Sure, sometimes a mug of hot chocolate with marshmallows tastes so yummy after being out in the cold, but that tends to be loaded with sugar and not much nutrition. Consider some nice, hot tea instead. Tea can actually be fun! There are loads of flavors and ways to “jazz” up your cup. Herbal teas are great for extra hydration, and green tea can be a healthy form of caffeine for that afternoon pick-me-up. Lemon, a spoonful of honey, plant-based milk and even a cinnamon stick are all great add-ins to your mug of tea. 

Another great hot beverage option is a turmeric latte. Some studies have found that turmeric can reduce inflammation and even risk of serious diseases like cancer and heart disease. You can make your own “golden milk” turmeric latte by combining 1 cup plant-based milk, ½ teaspoon turmeric powder, a pinch of cinnamon and 1 tablespoon agave or maple syrup into a saucepan over medium/high heat until warm and combined. 

And if you must have that hot chocolate, try making your own healthier version: Combine 1 cup plant-based milk, 1 tablespoon cocoa or cacao powder, 1 tablespoon maple syrup, a splash of vanilla extract and a pinch of salt to a saucepan over medium heat. Use a whisk to break up clumps, and stir until smooth. Pour into a mug, and enjoy! 

#6. Fuel your body with smart choices. 

Eating a balanced diet of protein, fruits and vegetables, carbohydrates and healthy fats is crucial to your body’s recovery and also your mental focus. Eat a hearty breakfast in the morning (oatmeal or porridge is our favourite for winter mornings!), and pack easy-to-grab, healthy snacks in your dance bag. Also, eating (especially something with protein) within an hour after your workout or dance class has been shown to increase the muscle-building response. And take that extra five minutes to meal plan your dinners. When we’re “hangry”, it’s easy to grab a quick fix, which can often be processed or not as healthy. At the beginning of the week, prepare a big batch of brown rice or quinoa, roast a big tray of veggies, cook up some chicken or baked tofu, and have things on hand like eggs and avocado. At the end of each day, you can combine it all for a hearty post-recovery dinner bowl and add something fun like tahini or hot sauce. 

#7. Two words: Dance booties. 

Dance booties are a dancer’s best friend! Especially in those cold winter months. Só Dança’s Elastic Lace Warmup Bootie offers maximum support with its criss-cross elastic lacing. Keep your toes and feet warm – they’re far from your heart and crucial to your dancing. 

#8. Rug up! 

If you’re going out in the cold air after class, be sure to layer up, even if your body already feels warm from all the dancing. Pack some extra clothes and an additional pair of socks. Check out the Long Sleeve Jumpsuit and Harem Pants from Repetto; they’re fashionable and cozy and great studio-to-street wear. We also love the Energetiks Jordan Jacket, made of AustraliaUltra Fleece, and the Dance with Repetto Sweatshirt, which comes in pink and black, for added layers. 

By Laura Di Orio of Dance Informa.

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