Nina is an adult Irish dancer based in Belgrade, Serbia. For more, connect with her on twitter @GingerLujka.
Not even dedicated dancers are exempt from sore muscles, so if you feel sore after a workout, don’t worry, it doesn’t necessary mean you’re not fit. Muscle soreness happens when we either change our normal routine, or we intensify it.
Muscle soreness happens when the muscle fibers and connective tissue suffer from microdamage (small injuries) – but don’t be alarmed, this is how muscles and connective tissue become stronger.
Still, it’s not a very pleasant feeling and sometimes it can be really painful, even immobilizing a person for 48 hours, which is how long the muscle soreness usually lasts. Here are some tips to help you get through this as painless as possible.
If your muscle soreness comes hand in hand with cramps, magnesium is your best friend. You can get it in most of the pharmacies and in some countries even supermarkets sell vitamins and magnesium pills. Always carry some on you when you have dance practice, a competition or performance. If you suffer from cramps very often, it is also good to include magnesium in your everyday diet – cramps usually happen when there’s not enough of this mineral in your muscles. If you’re not a fan of pills and tablets, you can find magnesium in lots of food, for example spinach, pumpkin seeds, fish, brown rice, beans, bananas, dried fruit etc. Also, my favorite – dark chocolate!
Even though you’re tempted to take a hot, soothing bath after long hours of dancing, try a cold shower instead. I’ve tried this and it really worked miracles! It’s not especially comfortable during the winter, so instead of cold shower you can also try putting ice packs on your muscles, or even applying some cold cream right after the dance practice. If you are out of ice, you can even try putting bags of frozen vegetables on your muscles. Basically, anything that cools and relaxes the muscles after a workout helps them become stronger.
3. KEEP DANCING
Finally, the best thing for healing dancing muscle soreness is more dancing! Further physical activity within the following 24 hours will decrease the soreness and help your muscles heal faster and more effectively. A good warm-up before dancing and stretching every day are also good ways of treating but also preventing muscle soreness.
Muscle soreness is that proverbial pain which is necessary if we mean to have any gain. It is therefore very important to know the distinction between soreness and real injury that, if not treated properly, can lead to serious physical problems. So make sure that you keep dancing – but dance safely! If the pain doesn’t go away after two or three days, visit your physician.
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