Florida is known for its beautiful weather year-round. But, that also means that dancers are often taking dance classes at dance studios in temperatures above 80 degrees Fahrenheit! At a Port Orange dance studio like The Legacy Dance Studio, dancers are encouraged to stay hydrated during dance classes.
In order to stay hydrated during dance class, you need to be sure to hydrate both before and after dance class, as well as eat foods with high water content.
Staying hydrated during dance classes is part of being a healthy, safe, and smart dancer. The Legacy Dance Studio in Port Orange takes dancer health seriously, and always strives to keep dancers safe.
Why Is Hydration Important For Dancers?
Hydration is important for all humans, but it’s especially important for dancers. Dancers are athletes, and athletes need to hydrate properly to perform at their highest level!
When we put our bodies through hours-long rehearsals or back-to-back technique classes, we’re really asking a lot of ourselves!
When dancers are properly hydrated, the body stays at homeostasis (a fancy word for “stability”). Muscles flex and contract with ease, joints stay lubricated, body temperature is regulated, and the digestive system functions well.
While most dance studios do have some form of air conditioning, dancers who are working hard will definitely sweat in class. Sweating is the body’s way of cooling down, but excessive sweating will lead to dehydration.
Hydrating properly and at the right times will help the body sweat the correct amount and not lead to dehydration. At our Port Orange Dance Studio, dancers can feel free to utilize the water cooler to refill their bottles before class.
What Does Dehydration Look Like in Dancers?
When dancers are dehydrated, they may notice a few disturbing things about their performance in class or on stage.
First, a lack of focus can occur when dancers aren’t hydrated properly. Dancers may find it hard to remember combinations at the barre or blank on choreography.
Also, without proper fluid intake, dancers are at risk of muscle cramps. Muscles need enough water and electrolytes to function at an optimal level. When the body is dehydrate it reserves the fluid for it’s vital organs (the brain and the heart). So, your calves and quads that are working so hard in dance class don’t get the fluids they desperately need – and they respond by cramping!
Dancers who are noticing their thirst are already dehydrated. Thirst kicks in after the body has lost 1-2 liters of water, so if you’re parched during rehearsal, that means you haven’t been drinking enough throughout the day.
What Things Can Dancers Do To Stay Hydrated During Class?
There are a few things you can do to avoid becoming dehydrated during dance class or a performance. Keep these tips in mind next time you head to the studio or the stage!
Tip 1 – Drink Enough Water During the Day
The old advice to drink 8 glasses of water per day may not be accurate for everyone! Depending on your level of activity, you may need to stay hydrated for dance class.
During the 2 to 4 hours leading up to dance class, aim for 1 to 2.5 cups of water. That might mean you need to pack a reusable water bottle and drink up at the end of the school day before heading to the studio.
Tip 2 – Sip, Don’t Chug During Dance Class
Once you’re in dance class, if you’ve had enough water, you shouldn’t be dying of thirst right after pliés! Be sure to sip your water instead of chugging it – drinking too much too fast will only lead to a sloshy stomach during petit allegro!
Tip 3 – Add Sodium and Electrolytes After Dance Class
According to Rachel Fine at Dance Nutrition the number one electrolyte lost during sweaty activity is sodium. Electrolytes like sodium can be replenished by drinking sports drinks like Gatorade or Powerade, as well as coconut water, although coconut water has some caveats. Rachel says, “…as a rehydration fluid, coconut water is limited. To optimize this choice, pair your coconut water with salted pretzels for a boost in both sodium and quick-acting carbohydrate.”
Tip 4 – Eat Foods That Are High in Water Content
You can boost your hydration throughout the day with things other than water! Foods that are high in water content can be enjoyed as a part of meals as well as snacks. Favorites among dancers are cucumbers, watermelon, apples, and celery.
You can also play around with creating your own smoothies or juices, both of which will contribute to your hydration levels.
Tip 5 – Avoid Diet and Sugary Drinks
The ingredients in diet drinks include sugar alcohols which can lead to stomach upset and headaches when consumed too frequently. While these drinks won’t necessarily dehydrate you, the side effects aren’t that pleasant and should be consumed in moderation!
Even young dancers need to be aware of their hydration levels, so make sure to pack your child a full water bottle before heading to the studio. Staying hydrated will help keep your dancer happy, healthy, and dancing their best!
Check out this article on Dance Class Etiquette !