You’re busy. We know. We get it! Between school, dance, homework, and social commitments, it’s pretty likely you can’t remember the last time you went to the movies or out to dinner—let alone spent some much needed time giving your body a little extra love.
But we promise it’s so worth it. (Love your body and it’ll love you back, right?) Spend just 15 or so minutes a day tending to your muscles and your dancing will look and feel better. Promise. Here are five easy (and free or cheap!) ways to tend to your over-worked joints and muscles.
Foam rolling. You can buy a basic foam roller at your local sporting goods store or online, or look into some of the fancier models that will really dig deep into your muscles (we’re huge fans of this one—hurts so good!). Then, use the foam roller to roll out your quads, hamstrings, calves, and back. Try to foam roll every night for about 15 minutes. Still not sure exactly how to get the maximum benefits from foam rolling? Watch this:
Foot massaging. If your mom, dad, brother, or significant other isn’t into the idea of giving you nightly foot rubs (we can’t imagine why not!), place a tennis ball, lacrosse ball, golf ball, or softball underneath the arch of your foot and roll around on it to work out any cramps or kinks. (This also helps prevent or relieve plantar fasciitis.) Bonus if you can splurge on a foot massage at your local spa or nail salon!
Ice ice, baby! Ever heard of endurance athletes dipping into ice baths after a tough workout? It sounds intense, but it works! We’re not saying you have to submerge yourself in a tub full of ice cubes, but placing bags of ice, ice packs, or even a bag of frozen peas or corn on your knees or any other achy joints after a long rehearsal or grueling performance will help expedite recovery and reduce inflammation.
Stretching. Raise your hand if you watch TV at night while sitting in a split! We’re guilty, too. But a better idea is to just wind down with gentle stretches (think low lunges, calf stretches, and basic arm and back stretches to elongate your body and give your muscles a big “aaaaaah” feeling).
Drink water. So much water. More water than that. Grabbing a few sips between classes probably isn’t enough. It’s a great idea to carry a water bottle at all times so you can stay good and hydrated during the school day and into your late nights at the studio. You never want to feel thirsty (once you feel thirsty or dehydrated, it’s already too late!). If plain water doesn’t excite you, add some lemon, lime, or cucumber slices to your water bottle to keep it extra tasty. (You’ll feel like you’re at a spa!)
Remember, the better your body feels, the better you’ll be able to perform. So grab some ice, hop on the foam roller, and keep drinking and you’ll be shining in the spotlight for sure!