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Classes, rehearsals...recovery time?


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Hi all,


I have recently begun dancing again, a lot, after several years of not dancing. I missed the whole transition from dancing as a teen to dancing as an adult, and I still have some things to learn about dancing in this older body.


I'm currently taking class five days/week and rehearsals are starting up for multiple shows. When I was a teenager, my body would have been fine with this. Now it is trying to co-operate... but I think it needs some help. I've been stretching after classes, doing heat later on when I'm sore, hot baths, and using anti-inflammatories a tiny bit. I've had a massage, and feel these might help a lot but I can't afford them as often as I'd like. I've been resting whenever possible. Do you all have anything else you do when you start to feel sore enough it might curtail your fun?



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Recovery in my opinion is highly individualistic. Essentially, you have to learn how your body reacts to the demands you place on it and how it best recovers. So experiment and find what works best for you.


Over the years I have been involved with sports and dance, I’ve found by far the best recovery “technique” from those typical aches and pains is simply to repeat what made you sore, but repeat at slightly less intensity. I’ve also earned that the body can take much more stress than the brain thinks the body can. And I’ve found that rest is most efficient when it is spaced out over weeks or even months (vacations from class make for good rest periods).


There are little rest indulgences I use. I like to ice sore muscles in hot weather and heat them in cold weather, usually while watching TV. I don’t know if that helps much, but it feels good which is really the purpose. Good also to lie on the couch and elevate whatever is aching, again while watching TV. Ditto things like stretching whatever aches during TV commercials. As I said, I don’t know if things like that really do much for ordinary tired and sore muscles, but it helps rationalize my TV watching.

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I'm convinced that there's some mathematical formula that calculates how many classes you need to improve as an adult while still accounting for the slow deterioration of the body year by year... :D

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This would definately be something to discuss with your doctor, but I was told that for anti-inflammitory drugs to really work, they need to be taken on a regular schedule, not just popped when you feel muscle aches. I'm talking about NSAIDs such as Aleve. I know that medical advice is not allowed on the board, so I'm just suggesting strongly that you talk to your doctor about the best way to use anti-inflammitory meds for your situation and body. My doctor told me this based on my fibromyalgia, so it might be different for someone else. Again, it's your doctor's call, so be sure to mention it to him or her.



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In your post I noticed you said applying heat and also hot baths, but you did not say anything about any ice therapy in your regime. Sore muscles sure feel good when the heat hits them...but they do need ice directly after injury or extra strain that you know you just did, before you apply the heat. Ice prevents further inflammation, but I do agree that nice hot packs feels oh so good...especially in these colder months! Brrrr

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Water, drink tons of it, especially after bodywork and physical activity;it flushes out the lactic acid in muscles.

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Well I have had a lot of trouble with injuries over the past years- mainly muscle sprains and strains resulting from not listening to my body. Some injuries have been the direct result from an older injury- after the first injury my muscles tightened up so I was frustrated and stretched harder and more careless to regain my old flexibility- which only resulted in a new injury making things worse than ever before.


I think a proper recovery needs time and a lot of patience combined with sort of a "body consciousness"- Reduced programs certainly do help with "rehab".

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I'm with missvjc420 on the water - a little lesson that I learned from Treefrog (thank you!) earlier this year when I was feeling muy fatigued.


No one has said anything about food. The more I ask my body to do, the more careful I have to be about replenishing and nourishing it. For me, the amount of protein makes a huge difference not just to my muscles, but to my overall energy levels, etc. Again, it's very individualistic, but for me has made a huge difference.

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I've found that I simply can't push myself past a certain point, or I'm just too sore/tired to be effective in my work.


I've found that dropping the intensity (10+ classes+conditioning per week) to something like 5 or 6 classes+extra work on details such as port de bras and coordination has helped my dancing a lot.


Protein, water, and plenty of sleep is needed:) I know when I'm doing *too much* if I start to get cranky and frustrated all the time. Soreness is OK...cranky and sore is not:)

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Water, drink tons of it, especially after bodywork and physical activity;it flushes out the lactic acid in muscles.


I'll second that, and could fill a whole new topic with the other good stuff water does for you. But the thing I found helped the most (I was a more-or-less absolute beginner at age 47!) was getting into Pilates. It might mean giving up a night of dance, but it does SO much for your strength and flexibility, it's definitely worth it.

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All right, perhaps I should have mentioned I already do RICEing when needed (maybe I'm a little light on the Rest part of Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation). I also forgot you wouldn't all know that I eat well and am well hydrated 98% of the time! The anti-inflammatories were on a doctor's advice, so no worries there.


I keep have tried Pilates a few times, but seem not to have found the right instructor for it. Kasaba, do you mean mat work or are you using machines at this point?


I think lampwick's point is particularly well-taken here, that soreness is okay, but being cranky and sore is not. I think that is such a good guideline for people to use to gauge whether what they are doing, or how they are doing it, is right for them!


Thanks for your input, everyone!

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I think there is sort of a downward spiral you can go through. You start with sore and that is OK if you feel it is well earned and goes away with the next class.

Then there is sore and cranky when it seems to be all the time. This is time to take action which might be sit still a bit.

Finally you move to injured and or sick. We all know this is when we pushed just too far and it can be quite depressing; excluding catching the odd cold when our energy is otherwise intact.


You have to learn what your body can stand year to year and make adjustments.



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