Relax to Recover
By now, most dancers know that it’s not exercise itself that
makes your muscles stronger—it’s recovering from that
exercise. But it takes more than just resting your body
to see results. Recent research suggests that to bounce
back stronger after strenuous exercise, your mind needs
a break from stress, too. Scientists believe the body will
only dedicate resources to rebuilding if it doesn’t register
a threat, no matter whether that message is coming from
physical or mental stress. Perfectionist dancers love filling
up their schedules, but some mindless binge-watching
might have its place on your to-do list, too.
Meet Your Matcha
Ditch the onstage jitters this winter by warming up
backstage with a hot cup of matcha. The powdered
tea has a unique combination of caffeine (about the
same amount as in brewed coffee) and L-theanine,
which is known to help the body to relax. That mix is
likely to explain why so many fans say matcha gives
them a relaxed energy—the kind of feeling you want
when stepping onstage. Just remember to buy the
pure, unsweetened variety so you’re not loading up
Eat More Kiwi
Attention kiwi lovers: Stop peeling the skin off this fruit. Instead, just bite
into it like a peach. Why?
■ It’s healthier: Eating the fuzzy brown layer triples the amount of fiber.
■ It’s easier: Biting right into the fruit means you don’t need to peel it.
■ It’s tastier: The inside of the skin has a deliciously tart flavor.
If the fuzz weirds you out, scrape some off with a spoon before diving in.
Struggling to make it through a marathon
variation? Give your body a boost of stamina by
adding beet juice to your daily diet. The latest
study to tout the endurance benefits of beet juice
found that after healthy men drank it for 15 days,
they had more-dilated blood vessels and lower
blood pressure. Those two effects mean your
heart won’t have to work as hard to get oxygen to
your muscles, helping you dance longer.
Turnout is such an integral part
of ballet. You’d assume the best
dancers would have the best rotation, right? Not according to a new
study published by the Performing
Arts Medicine Association. After
measuring the external rotation
of 45 dancers in all ranks at The
Australian Ballet, researchers found
no difference between degrees of
passive or active turnout in corps
members, soloists and principals.
Of course, all the dancers studied
had enough rotation to make it to a
professional level. But when you’re
struggling with yours, it’s nice to
remember that turnout isn’t what
makes a great dancer.
Contributor: Jennifer Stahl