Healthy Priorities for the Competition Dancer

As part of the competition team, your child is logging MANY hours at the studio at this time of year … plus school, plus homework, plus life with family and friends.  They are juggling all the important things in their lives, gaining valuable life experience on what it’s like to balance their responsibilities.  Sometimes (OK, maybe a lot of times!) they are so busy that they also need a reminder on what it takes to stay healthy.

Your dancer’s well-being is a top priority for us at Studio 56 Dance Center, just like it is for you at home.  During this busy competition season, we’ve put together some tips to help your dancer optimize their health and perform at their peak:

Nutrition and Hydration

A dancer’s body really is their instrument; it’s not just a common saying!  Proper nutrition literally fuels their bodies so they can do their best work.  And of course, water is THE essential element of the body … it can’t be underestimated.  Not being well-hydrated can contribute to muscle cramps, headaches, and fatigue, which no dancer wants to encounter during a competition.  

To feel their best during the event, we recommend that dancers have a small carbohydrate-rich meal a few hours before taking classes or performing (a peanut butter sandwich on whole wheat bread or cup of oatmeal with fruit are good options).  A snack that combines carbs and protein can help with muscle recovery afterward (think cheese and fruit or hummus and veggies).  And of course, drinking water frequently throughout the day is a given! 

Sleep and Rest

We’re sure you know as well as we do that the two key ingredients of sleep and rest sometimes get skimped when it comes to adolescents.  According to the National Sleep Foundation, most pre-teens and teens should be getting 8-10 hours of sleep each night.  While that’s certainly something to strive for, you can also help your dancer get better quality sleep by helping them keep their room cool and dark at night, charging their phone overnight in another room (yes, that might mean buying an old-fashioned alarm clock!), and establishing “screen-free” quiet hours.  

When your dancer does have downtime, encourage them to rest.  Being in constant go-go-go mode means that their adrenaline is often high.  Their bodies need periodic opportunities to feel real calmness and relaxation to counteract that stimulation.  We know it isn’t always easy to encourage rest in addition to a full night’s sleep, but even half-hour intervals throughout the week can make a big difference in a teen’s physical and emotional well-being.

We appreciate ALL you do to support your team dancer and boost their healthy habits.  And don’t worry; we know that sometimes they need to hear these things from us too.  At Studio 56 Dance Center, we’re committed to keeping this topic in the spotlight.  Expect for your dancer to continue hearing reminders at practice!

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