Artist athletes are prone to injury for a number of reasons that can be divided into external and internal factors. External factors include flooring, temperature, and scheduling of performances while internal factors include fatigue, overuse, weakness, just to name a few.
When we talk about injury prevention, we want to start with education by providing resources for dancers and dance educators to learn more about their bodies, how they can get injured and what they can do to avoid setbacks.
Next, we want to try and influence things can control in a positive way – specifically, the internal factors mentioned above. Here are the 5 principles of Artist Wellness that can create a positive change in your dance journey:
REINFORCE – Artist athletes are proficient in movement. Working on this proficiency is done through both dance and non-dance mechanisms. Strength, power and agility training should all be incorporated in your overall dance program. These components should also be part of a comprehensive warm up.
REFUEL – Athletes need to have adequate food and water intake in order to perform. The pressure to look a certain way as a dancer should not dictate your relationship with food. Place value on your long-term health over your appearance.
RECHARGE – Scheduling in recovery is important for athletes. Cool downs, body work and restful sleep all have an equal effect on your performance as your training program itself. Your body needs to adapt and restore from the physical demands of dance.
REFLECT – Being open about mental health is very important for artist athletes. Learning how to cope with performance anxiety and how to deal with coming back from an injury should be addressed by the dancer, their educators and support system.
REPAIR – It is time to change the culture of tolerance towards injuries in the worlds of sport and dance. We should advocate for better management and improve prevention strategies within our communities through screening, assessments and better access to qualified health professionals.
Mari is offering virtual dance assessments and can provide education on how you can enhance your performance as an artist athlete. Tune in to the next episode of A Quarter Past Midnight: Insight, Foresight, More Sight on 519 SHH Instagram account for a talk on wellness!