Many seasoned competitors and performers will know this very well: having to push themselves physically demanding events in succession takes a great deal of energy and exertion. To those who are not used to handling energy overcharge, it is easy to fall sick within the next few days following the event if you’re not looking after yourself properly.
I have been practicing under high intensity and going to the gym regularly, why will I still get sick after my competition/performance?
Under normal situations, and assuming that you’re training like an athlete, you’re likely to simply sweat it out complete with regulated rest sessions and in a familiar environment. However, when it comes to the actual event, you’ll be pushing yourself further, battling it out against other competitors, and under a different air (more on that below). During this process, complete with the stress of small details such as noting which heat you’re dancing, your mind and body goes under fight or flight mode.
Because your body undergoes more exertion than its usual capacity during competitions and performances, it expends the extra energy reserves to deal with the higher output, leaving your immune system to becoming more vulnerable to the elements.
Why do I need to take extra care during competition/performance time?
The last thing you will want is a major set back to your social and training afterwards! You wouldn’t want something like a flu getting in the way of your life now, do you? After all, there are celebrations to be made from that fantastic show you’ve put on, and more training for your next event!
How to look after your body on the day of your competition/performance:
1. Invest in a good competitor’s kimono robe.
Ever wondered why top dancers are frequently seen walking around in robes? It’s not just to look mysterious (and for hiding your new dress until your event comes), it is there to keep your body warm from the elements.
There are plenty of reasons to invest in a good robe, some of which include being loose enough to wear without crushing your outfit and it’s easy to wear or take off. Should you want to custom tailor your own, make sure you include the following points:
- Give extra shoulder drop, armhole and cuff allowance: This will ensure that you will be able to slide your arms in and out with ease while you’re in full costume.
- Consider using thick satin with high thread density: Satin is the best fabric choice for robes as it is not a breathable fabric (meaning the warmth from the body will remain insulated from the cold) and the smoother finish will not damage parts of your outfit (especially if it is full of crystal embellishments). It’s also a light enough to not take up too much packing space.
- Ideal length should reach to below the knees to mid-calf: You will want to be able to walk around in your robe without heels while also staying warm.
2. If robes are not an option, bring your tracksuit jacket and pants.
Having a tracksuit jacket and pants is a good option when you don’t have a robe. These are made with athletes’ needs to keep their bodies warm between rounds. Choose a jacket that’s slightly larger than your usual size will give more allowance for fitting when in costume.
3. Pack those leg warmers.
Leg warmers have been a pleasant surprise for me when I first used them. They’re great for keeping your ankles warm and can be worn over your heels (or if you you need to leave your shoes on) since they don’t have the toes stopping them and are easy to wear and remove at any moment.
4. Stay away from air conditioning, especially if you’re going to take a nap.
One of the most common reasons for catching a cold indoors is being exposed to air conditioning. Because the air has been filtered through with refrigerants to cool hot air, the temperature of the wind coming from the air conditioner is not much different from the ones used in refrigerators to keep food from spoiling. And because your body is already pushing itself closer to its limits, your body will need to work even harder just to stay warm – which is not the desired effect when wanting to conserve energy for your dancing.
Similarly, locate a spot well away from direct air conditioning paths when you’re resting, especially if you’re going to take a nap. Generally, a person’s body temperature drops during the time when getting some shuteye, and being exposed to extra cold will, again, force your body to exert itself further than necessary. Wrapping up warmly and hiding in a corner would be your best option when you need that quick nap.
5. Eat and drink warm products.
This is not a good time to be eating ice cream, even though it is tempting to grab a cone to cool down after that jive. Again, your body is already pushing to further limits, and introducing cold food and drinks will force it to work harder. Your stomach will be the first to notice this, and may start aching from the chills. Instead, opt for items that are warm or at room temperature. Your body will thank you for it.
Throughout the article, I have stressed on the different ways of keeping the body warm during your event, and it is the most crucial element since it is the fundamental part of looking after your body while also keeping it at dance ready condition. As dancers, our bodies are the most important instruments to perfecting our performance; by taking precautions to keeping it warm, it will serve us better to produce the results we want.
Over to you: How do you look after yourself during long and intensive events? Share this article with a friend who might find this article useful! If you have enjoyed reading this and want more tips, follow me on Facebook and Twitter for updates!
Image source: WIN Sports Bag