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INJURY PREVENTION 101

By: The Dance World Editor

By Leigh Schanfein of Dance Informa

Nutrition

We often think of using food as fuel: ingest it, burn it, use it for energy. However, food and beverages are what our bodies use for every function, from muscle contraction to nerve impulse to new cell formation! Many foods, especially natural and minimally processed foods, provide us with many nutrients that our bodies use in a myriad of ways. For example, the mineral calcium is well known for being a hugely important part of bone health by helping us build and maintain bone density. But, did you know that calcium is also critical for creating an electric impulse that travels down a nerve, or for allowing a muscle to relax after contracting? Our bodies host a complex orchestration that allows us to function under conditions ranging from maximal exertion to complete rest.

There are six nutrient groups: Carbohydrates, Proteins, Fats, Vitamins, Minerals and Water.  Most foods contain more than one nutrient but it is important to eat a wide variety of food to make sure we get them all! ALL are important, so do not cut any out of your diet.

Carbohydrates are primarily used for short-term energy while fats are primarily used for long-term energy, insulation and cell formation. Proteins make muscles and many other cells, and we need to consume enough carbohydrates and fats so that we aren’t using up our proteins for energy. The only complete food source for protein is meat, so vegetarians must make sure they eat a good variety of plant-sources to get all the essential amino acids.

Vitamins and minerals are used in many different bodily functions. Fat-soluble vitamins are easily stored in the body but water-soluble vitamins are easily flushed out so we need to consume them on a daily basis. Did you know water is a nutrient? It is so vital to your health that losing only 1% of your body weight in water can result in the ill effects of dehydration. Plenty of research has shown that losing even 2% can result in huge deficits in physical and mental performance!

Gradual Loading

This sounds like a term more suitable to carrying boxes! Basically, we do not want to overwork our bodies by doing too much too soon. We should make physical changes gradually. Research has found that dancers tend to get injured when they have a dramatic change in their workload, either a rapid increase in the amount of dancing or a quick transition to a new style of dance for which the body is unprepared.

How can we prepare our bodies for such changes? Rather than jumping right into a new schedule or new repertory, we should do what we can to introduce our bodies to the change by taking time to increase the volume and/or intensity of physical load. This could mean gradually increasing the number of classes we take as we transition from time off back into our full dance schedules. Or it could be increasing the number of repetitions we do of class combinations to improve strength or endurance in preparation for starting a new rehearsal period.

Another example might be as specific as introducing our bodies to a new dance style or choreography. A little research will go a long way; if you find out you will be doing modern rep and you are not used to working in parallel, start doing some exercises at home that strengthen your adductors and internal rotators. If you know you’re going to be doing a high intensity dance that has you sweating and panting, add some cardio exercises and increase your reps in class until your endurance is spot on. When you know the demands, you can make smart adjustments and prevent overuse and fatigue.

Read the full article here for more injury prevention information.

Photo (top): © Handmademedia | Dreamstime.com

Dancer Recommended Recipes!

By: The Dance World editor

By:  Amy Omernick

dancerreicpesblog

Check out what these dancers recommend as great recipes for dancers! We have a few of our own too.

 

Kimberly Braylock, San Francisco Ballet
Kale Chips
Click here for the recipe via Smitten Kitchen 

Melissa Chapski, Ellison Ballet
Chia Raspberry Drink
Click here for the recipe via Mama Natural

Miko Fogarty, Indiana Ballet Conservatory
Dried Mango
Click here for the recipe via POPSUGAR

Samantha Figgins, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
An Avocado and Hummus
Click here for the recipe via Inspired Taste

Angeli Mamon, Pacific Northwest Ballet
Luna Bars
Click here for the recipe via Chocolate-covered Kate 

Shannon Rugani, San Francisco Ballet
Greens Energy Bar
Click here for the recipe via Epicurious

Danielle Hernandez, The Dance World Editor  & Competitive Latin Dancer

Strawberry/Kiwi Smoothie (add a scoop of protein 11-14 grams recommended)

Click here for the recipe via All Recipes 

Want more on healthy dancer recipes? Email the Dance World Editor!

danielle@on1dancewear.com

 

Pilates & Dance

PILATES & DANCE

By: The Dance World Editor

By: Kristen Padden

Looking for the perfect cross training exercise to enhance your dance technique?
Pilates may be just the thing to help you strengthen your core while increasing flexibility and it happens to be lots of fun too!pilatesimage1

Dance greats like Mikhail Baryshnikov, George Balanchine, Rudolf von Laban, Hanya Holm, and Martha Graham all used the Pilates method!

WHAT IS PILATES?
Pilates is a mind-body exercise program developed by Joseph Pilates in the early 20th century. Pilates uses movement and breath to stretch, strengthen, and balance the body. Full body movements performed on a mat, or using specially designed equipment, focus on the core muscle groups of the abdomen and the back.

THE PILATES – DANCE CONNECTION
Although founder Joseph Pilates was not a dancer, he worked with many famous dancers when he moved to the United States from Europe. Dance greats like Mikhail Baryshnikov, George Balanchine, Rudolf von Laban, Hanya Holm, and Martha Graham worked with Pilates and often sent their dancers to see him for injury rehabilitation.

So why did these dance masters, and hundreds of dancers since, take to Pilates so eagerly? For one, both disciplines use the whole body, and focus the mind in their movements. Both Pilates and dance tend to create long and lean muscles, and use resistance and momentum to work on strength, flexibility, and posture.

In addition, many of the exercises in isolate key muscles used in dance technique, thus naturally strengthening dance movements. When I studied dance in college, Pilates training was part of a body alignment class I took. After several months of working on the Pilates Reformer apparatus, I noticed my balance in ballet class had improved, as did my pirouettes, and strength in jumping.

pilatesimage2

 

Click HERE for more on Pilates

Lace of Luxury

This Week’s pics for Look of the Week!

Lace of Luxury

Keep it classic with a touch of Luxe Fashion with these beautiful lace leotards. Even wear them at auditions for that classy, edgy look.
By: The Dance World Editor 

 

  Ainsliewear “Greta” Tank Leotard    
ainsliepasten2

chloe2 Ainsliewear “Chloe” Lace back leotard

lacecapezioCapezio Lace High Neck Leotard

Where any of these leotard with tights and your warm up of choice in ballet or pair them with great dance shorts for jazz and contemporary classes. Make a statement with your dancewear!

Healthy Food Choices

Healthy food choices for Dancers

By: The Dance Wolrd Editor

By Emily C. Harrison MS, RD, LD. via Dance Informa
www.dancernutrition.com.

If you are one of the many people who have had a hard time losing a few pounds using traditional approaches of counting calories and fat grams, then it’s time for a new approach. New Year’s resolutions give us an enthusiastic opportunity to seize the day, but how do we really make change happen and stick to it in a sustainable way?  “Sustainability” has become such a buzzword that can all too easily lose its impact or become cliche.  But making choices that are sustainable for our bodies, our busy lives, and the environment is exactly what we have to do to make a lasting difference.  The beauty of the sustainability approach, is that when you stop obsessing over calories, fat grams, and carbs, you open yourself up to making delicious food choices based on more positive criteria.

#1 Eat Real Food 

Before you make a food choice, ask yourself if it’s real food. “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants”.  Michael Pollan’s famous quote sounds so simple, but in this day of ultra processed food, we have to actually define “real food”.  This means fresh, unprocessed fruits, vegetables, beans, seeds, nuts and whole grains.  If the food label is longer than a typical tweet, or if you don’t recognize some of the ingredients, then rethink eating it.  This doesn’t have to be hard. Instead of a pop tart for breakfast, grab overnight oats out of the fridge.  Instead of cheese puffs from the vending machine, pack almonds and a clementine.  Instead of chicken nuggets for lunch, have a hummus, cucumber, spinach sandwich on whole grain bread with lentil soup.  Don’t stress about calories, simply plan ahead to aim to get a fruit or veg at each meal and snack.

#2 Eat Clean 

Eating real food (not from packages, boxes, cans, or plastic) automatically limits your exposure to some substances that have been linked to weight gain, learning challenges, and even sometimes cancer.   Packaged, conventional products often have more sugar, salt, fat, additives, preservatives, colors, dyes, GMOs, pesticides, herbicides, and nasty chemicals like BPA.  Bisphenol A (BPA) is a chemical found in the lining of canned foods, plastic packaging, and some drink bottles.  There are numerous studies linking BPA and the rising rates of obesity 1,2,3,9. The obesity epidemic is multifaceted and bigger than just our over consumption of calories, but chemicals, hormones, and antibiotics in our food are thought to be contributing factors 1,2,3,10.

When you consider what else could be in your food besides calories and fat you automatically begin to make choices that support a healthy weight.  Don’t be misled by healthwashing claims that your bag of chips are “natural”4.  The word “natural” on your food package isn’t clearly defined in the U.S..  Instead, take 15 minutes to boil some quinoa, toss with dried fruit, nuts, and some olive oil dressing and presto you have dinner without any packages going to landfill.  Throw some beans, onion, and green pepper in the slow cooker, serve with rice, and dinner will be waiting for you when you get home from a long day.  Make extra to save.  No packages required, the calories will naturally be lower than something from a box, and you limit your exposure to obesogenic substances.  The Centers for Science in the Public Interest and The Environmental Working Group have wonderful tools that allow you to know more about how substances can affect the human body 3,4,8,9.

#3 Your Food Choices Affect More Than Just Your Waistline

Your food choices affect others. When you make the decision to buy a burger and soda you choose food products that come from a very unhealthy system.  Sodas and even bread contain high fructose corn syrup which is genetically modified to withstand spraying of industrial herbicides. The meat is likely from a factory farm that routinely uses antibiotics which contribute to antibiotic resistant infections in people (in the U.S.). It is estimated that 90,000 people die each year from antibiotic resistant infections and resistance is a major public health crisis10. Children who live near factory farms have higher rates of asthma and farm animal waste runoff has been linked to e. coli outbreaks10.  Red meat production contributes heavily to pollution5,6,9,10. Choose a veggie burger instead, you’ll get less calories and fat but you also positively impact others on the planet.

Ultimately you are voting with your fork to decide what kind of future you want. This New Year, instead of worrying about calories, make a real sustainable difference by eating clean, eating less meat and dairy, and eating with the seasons. You just might be surprised how sustainable eating affects your waist line (and waste line) well after January’s burst of motivation has worn off.

Emily Harrison
Emily Cook Harrison MS, RD, LD
Emily is a registered dietitian and holds both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in nutrition from Georgia State University. Her master’s thesis research was on elite level ballet dancers and nutrition and she has experience providing nutrition services for weight management, sports nutrition, disordered eating, disease prevention, and food allergies. Emily was a professional dancer for eleven years with the Atlanta Ballet and several other companies. She is a dance educator and the mother of two young children. She now runs the Centre for Dance Nutrition and Healthy Lifestyles. She can be reached at emily@dancernutrition.com
www.dancernutrition.com

Sources:

1. Association Between Urinary Bisphenol A Concentration and Obesity Prevalence in Children and Adolescents. JAMA. 2012;308(11):1113-1121.  jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1360865
2. BPA in food packaging tied to childhood obesity: http://contemporarypediatrics.modernmedicine.com/contemporary-pediatrics/news/modernmedicine/modern-medicine-feature-articles/bpa-food-packaging-cont?page=full
CDC.gov, Overweight an Obesity:  www.cdc.gov/obesity/childhood/index.html
3. Center for Science in the Public Interest: Chemical Cuisine, Learn about Food Additives: www.cspinet.org/reports/chemcuisine.htm
4. Center for Science in the Public Interest: Eating Green. www.cspinet.org/EatingGreen/
5. Live Science:  www.livescience.com/22050-heat-waves-high-death-tolls.html
6. Years of Living Dangerously: http://yearsoflivingdangerously.com/topic/heat/
7. Healthwashing: www.huffingtonpost.com/andy-bellatti/healthwashing_b_4101450.html
8. CSPI Food Day: Food Impact Quiz: www.foodday.org/14questions
9. Environmental Working Group. ewg.org
10. Industrial Farm Animal Production in America: a report of the Pew Charitable Trusts and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. 2010.

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