The Importance of Rest
Updated: Dec 15, 2021
For those of you in school, it's finally summer break! Or maybe that means it's time for summer intensives! Whatever your plans are for summer, let's talk about the importance of rest and recovery.
You just finished the end of season recital and national competitions. Now what? A lot of dancers throw themselves into summer classes right away or go from one intensive to another. We all want to keep dancing over the summer and learn from new instructors.
However, if you aren't giving yourself a break, it can be really detrimental to your body and mind. Here's why:
1. Muscle Recovery
After a workout or after dance class, you might be sore the next day. Why? Soreness is a result of increased stress put on the muscles. Muscular soreness peaks around 24-72 hours after an activity (delayed onset muscle soreness or DOMS). Some of us take 4 classes back to back and then wake up in the morning and do it all again. That's not a whole lot of time to recover... You don't even know if you feel sore yet!
In order to give your muscles time to rebuild and get stronger, you have to take a bit of a break. Eat/drink protein, drink plenty of water, and rest to promote muscle recovery.
Whether it's mental or physical, burnout is common for dancers. Some signs of burnout can include increased soreness or lack of motivation or energy. This feeling won't last forever, but it's definitely a sign that you might need to take a break. Your break could be 2 days long or 2 months long- there's really no specified time period because it should be specific to YOU and what your body needs.
Some of my favorite ways to rest include going to the beach (if you live near one!), watching a movie, or reading a book. For longer periods of rest, I fill my time with other things that keep me busy, and I tell myself it's okay to relax. It's okay to take a break. You won't lose all your progress if you take a week off.
Practicing those positive affirmations helps as well. It can feel uncomfortable to go against what the dance industry normally promotes- to "keep training and work hard all the time." That can be tough on your body, especially for younger dancers!
So if you're a parent, I encourage you to promote this as a regular practice for your dancer. And if you're a dancer yourself, I encourage you to listen to your body.
Have a happy summer, and please reach out to me if you need anything!
Follow @trainwithkendall for dance training tips
Due to summer break, we won't be hosting a virtual workshop or master class for July. Stay tuned for one in August!