Is the summer heat putting a cramp in your dancing? We’ve outlined eight tips for maximizing summertime lessons, classes or dance parties for ballroom dancers. Here’s what you can do to beat the heat and stay present during dance time.
1. Say Hello to Hydration
You may have heard that “if you’re feeling thirsty, you're already dehydrated.” News flash: it’s accurate!1 Water regulates our internal temperature, helps with muscle contractions, and maintains a healthy volume of blood to circulate oxygen throughout our body.2 Dehydration can also speed up your heart rate, making it more difficult to physically dance and “can lead to decreased endurance and performance,” says Dr. Ruth Trimble, Physical Therapist and Dance Vision Certified Instructor, “it is critical for dancers to stay hydrated and maintain their electrolyte levels during practice and performance.”
Drink water consistently throughout the day before dance lessons or a social dance party—trying to chug a day’s worth of water right before may leave you feeling a little sluggish, not to mention, you’ll may be taking lots of bathroom breaks! If you are dancing for over an hour, it is also recommended to consume electrolytes to keep endurance up during practice. We recommend keeping hydration supplements, like Nuun or Liquid IV, in your dance bag.
2. Eat Your Water
Hydration doesn’t have to come from beverages alone...after long dance sessions in the summer, you’ll probably be reaching for a snack, anyway! Bring a small bag of water-dense vegetables and fruits (think cucumbers, watermelon, and bell peppers) to keep your energy up during practice time. When you’re not at the studio, prepare your body for upcoming dance lessons or parties by making meals that include water-dense foods—here is a list with suggestions!
3. Ice Ice Baby
Many dance studios have a refrigerator and freezer. Use them to your advantage! Keep your water cold, or have a cold pack ready for when you need to cool off (it may be polite to ask your instructor first).
4. What's for dinner?
You’ve just had a GREAT workout , so thank your body by preparing it to recover well. Eating a meal inclusive of protein, healthy fat, and carbohydrates will support muscle recovery and rehydration after practicing in the hot weather. Here are links to a few summertime recipes that we think you will love!
5. What time is it? Practice Time!
If you can control your schedule, dance during cooler parts of the day (before 10am or after 4pm!) Even if your studio is air-conditioned, it will be easier on your body to acclimate between chilly studios and the outdoor temperatures during these time frames.
6. Know your body.
What does dehydration feel like? It can differ from person to person, but starts with dark urine (we know, not the cutest subject), elevated heart rate during dance practice (if you wear an Apple Watch or Fitbit, you can check on it sporadically during practice), and can later result in headache, nausea, and fatigue. You know your body best—if you feel like you need water or food, take a break! Your body will thank you.
7. Dress for Success
We know the power of proper attire and how it affects your dancing. During hot periods of the year “wear lightweight, loose clothing, or material that allows the sweat to evaporate easily,” said Dr. Trimble. Don’t worry, you can still pair nice dance pants or a skirt with a sweat-wicking top that keeps you cool—doctor-approved and still in style!
8. Don't Forget the Cool Down
Star recovery with with a cool down stretch and plenty of hydration. Consider packing a water bottle, with the supplements mentioned above, so that you can sip all the way home.
With these summer practice tips, you’ll be cool as a cucaracha in no time (we know its cucumber, but cucaracha fits better 😜) Have a tip we missed? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org .