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How to get over the exhaustion and soreness?


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I am taking a new basic beginner ballet class now that takes me beyond my personal limits of current fitness. Counting the workshop prior, which was almost as strenuous for me, I've been in these classes for nearly 4 weeks now, 3-4x week. By the end of class I am panting like a dog and completely sweat soaked (ugh it's not a pretty sight!). The next day or two after the class my leg muscles completely tighten up. This may sound like a really dumb question, but Is it possible I am overexerting myself (after all I am 40 not 20!) or is this normal and just part of getting myself into shape? Funny I thought I was somewhat in shape prior to starting ballet, but I am now realizing how much harder I push myself in ballet then I ever did on the treadmill!

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This is quite normal, but do the standard checks: are you fully hydrated? are you warming up (see various threads for that)? Are you cooling down properly? Are you getting enough sleep?


The stiffness and soreness is about the lactic acid build up in the large muscles eg the quadriceps and the hamstrings. It's usually worse 2 days after unaccustomed strenuous exercise. Make sure you get a lot of gentle stretching and mild aerobic exercise on the days after classes -- I find walking & walking uphill helps; others find swimming helps. Get out of the car, get away from your desk as much as possible. Mainly, don't stop exercise between classes, but don't put joints under too much pressure.

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Thanks for the advice, Redbookish. I think maybe you've hit on my problem-- prior to taking ballet, I would walk extensively most days to visit client offices in NYC-- sometimes several miles a day. Now that I am in class, in a perhaps misguided attempt to "conserve" my energy for class, I've been taking the subway a lot more. Or even lazier, taking appointments via webex in my home office! I'll try to step up my walking again and see if that helps.

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KikiM, I find that walking to class gives me a good warmup and walking home from class gives me a gentle "warm-down" afterwards. At my studio, there is usually another class lined up outside ready to rush in and grab theie favorite barre spaces right at the end of my class, so I don't get a chance to stretch and cool down slowly. If I don't do that via walking or some other gentle activity, I do tend to "feel it" more later in the day or the next day. So thumbs up for walking! :) And then in the evenings, I have discovered the pleasure of an Epsom salts soak in the tub, preferable with a cup of tea or Gatorade (and sometimes an adult beverage!) and a good book!

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Walking is just about the best exercise a human being can do. Our bodies were designed for walking, long and steady walking.

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I've been testing (empirically) curcumin, and months ago sung its praises for relieving muscle soreness after class. As the months went past I was wondering whether to re-order or not. Now i've run out, my body most definitely feels worse for not having any :-(

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Foamroller! I have a pretty hard one and I just roll away my soreness. Besides that I take sometimes Mineral Salts that are called "Schüssler Salz". No idea if they are available where you are but they helped me. You find them in specialized farmacies.

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Ah, ah, ah! A young dancer has just wandered onto the Adult turf, and a post made invisibile. Young Dancers are safe from adults posting on their forums, so let's return the favor.

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  • 2 weeks later...



Don't know if this helps but after a 2 hour general class and a particularly brutal private lesson ( 2 hours continuous ballet mainly technique and pointe), I come home and do some basic pliés, battement en closh and port de bras at the mantle piece that really helps me.

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In addition to gentle stretching, walks and plies, having a solid diet will help too - foods like Salmon and walnuts are quite good in aiding/preventing aches and soreness.



Massaging your muscles can also be useful. Have a warm bath or shower, take some creams or oil and carefully massage your legs - then elevate them for a little while, like on an ottoman/chair while sitting at your couch or just lay in bed.



For things like joints, add an ice pack to selected regions and also elevate your legs as such.

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I second the preventative ice packing! I'm well aware of which are the vulnerable parts of my body (previous injuries, bunions, etc) and I find that the preventative icing after a hard class or just when I'm starting to feel a little overwork or twinge helps to avoid more issues. The flexible gel packs that you can put in either the freezer or the microwave are wonderful...they stay flexible even when cold and thus conform to whatever limb or joint you apply them too, and mine came with a soft flannel sleeve fitted with velcro straps to protect your skin from direct contact AND securely fasten the pack. I got them in the first aid aisle of a large chain drugstore.

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As an old guy dancer and exercise person I think I can say that some part of my body has been sore since I turned 60 seven years ago. I put soreness in one of two classes. One class is seriously sore which means it affects my movement, prohibiting me from doing something. I've used massage, RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation) and meds (naproxen and others I got from my doctor). Honestly I don't know how well these have worked. I mean I suspect that if i just rested for several months I would have been fine. But of course active people are unwilling to do that. We want to be healed tomorrow.


My second class of soreness is what I'll call annoying. Best example is how you feel when you have done some physical activity more than you are accustomed to doing. You feel something ranging between simple annoyance and slight to moderate pain. For that I believe simply doing the thing that made you sore more moderately works well.


I also think there is a psychological dimension to soreness. If you let it bother you, it will. If you accept it and go with it, you will be fine.


I do take a naproxen every day as a preventtive, but have no idea if tht is helpful. Right this moment I have soreness in the hip flexors and knee on the right side and over my entire upper back. In 15 minutes I'm leaving for class. I'll do a 30 minute warm-up and my guess is that there is a 90% chance that I'll be perfectly fine during class. Of course when I arrive at home after class, I'll be walking like a 100 year old man all the way to the door.

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Hi all thanks for the tips. I had a bit of time away from ballet when I was on vacation, during this time I was on my feet walking all day. Not only did this have the effect of relieving all my built up soreness and tight muscles, but bonus-- I also lost some belly bulge (even while feasting on european pastries the entire time!). I found this surprising as ballet definitely built up and defined my muscles and gave me a very hard cardio workout, but I didn't feel like I lost any inches until this week. Now I am going to make sure I incorporate walking into my routine every day, no matter how tired I am. I also got one of those foam rollers, but it can be excrutiatingly painful to use on my tight leg muscles. I also have plenty of anti-inflammatory herbs/vitamins (curmicin, pine bark, fish oil, and on and on)-- the problem is taking it on a regular basis to test if it works. And of course advil for when nothing else will do! I've only had a couple classes since I've been back and so far so good, the test will be whether my body can recover when bumping classes back up to 4x a week.

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I have found Arnica very helpful for the soreness, I seem to do much better with lingering aftereffects of a class if I take it immediately afterwards.

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