Even if you’re young and supple, the powerful fat-busting street dance movements will inevitably work those muscles – that’s what tones them up. That’s why it is important to choose a dance fitness class that allows you to workout within sensible limits.
Street Fit dance exercise classes are designed to minimise the risk of injury and, providing the workout is followed correctly, there is unlikely to be a problem. Street Fit instructors are trained to ensure the proper warm up and cool down phases are included in any class. Nevertheless, it is a good idea to be familiar with the common causes of injury:
- Doing too much, too soon. Unless you have previous street dance experience, it is advisable to only do one or two dance exercise classes a week at first. It is tempting to think that the more sessions you attend, the quicker results will come; but, acquiring an injury because your body is not recovering between sessions will undo all of your good work.
- Making drastic changes. Different types of workout exercise different muscles, so you need to give your body time to adapt. A dramatic increase in workout duration or frequency will also increase the risk of injury.
- Poor posture. Quality dance fitness courses, like Street Fit workouts, ensure that Instructors are trained to set a good example to participants. That includes demonstrating correct body alignment, since poor technique is a leading contributor to dance exercise injury.
- Skipping warm up. Street Fit Instructors are trained to include a warm up and cool down session in every workout but when you’re on your own it might be tempting to launch straight into your dance routine without warming up. It’s only natural that you want to get dancing, but working out with cold muscles is a recipe for muscle damage. Warming up is even more important as you get older. The ageing process itself reduces the flexibility of muscle tissue, increasing the likelihood of cold muscles becoming torn.
The types of injury that dancers are most likely to suffer from depend a lot upon the dance style. For example, ballet is notoriously hard on the ankles, and strains and sprains are common. Street dance is also heavy on the lower body. While that’s great for toning those hips, thighs and glutes, it also means you must take extra care of your feet, knees and lower back.
The PRICE of recovery
Of course, despite our best intentions and efforts, dance fitness injuries do happen. If you or one of your members do pick up a strain or sprain, it is important to take a break to enable a full recovery take place. For mild injuries, the PRICE acronym can be useful:
P=Protect: to avoid making injury worse, use a splint, crutch or other form of support
R=Restrict: it will speed up your recovery if you take a break from activities which work the affected area.
I=Ice: ice is a natural anti-inflammatory. Apply every 20 minutes for the first few hours following an injury.
C=Compression: an elastic bandage will also reduce swelling, if appropriate.
E=Elevate: raising the injured area above heart level, again to reduce inflammation.
For more guidance on recovering from a dance fitness injury, a qualified professional (e.g. a GP) should be consulted. Contrary to popular myth, doctors are not likely to recommend giving up the dance fitness courses you love. Instead, they will work with you to provide the quickest and safest road to recovery.
Disclaimer: This article is not to be used as a substitute for medical guidance and treatment. For qualified advice, please contact a health professional.