Solving your Winter Ills: Staying warm and injury free this winter
dancer staying cozy
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Solving your Winter Ills: Staying warm and injury free this winter

  • November 3, 2015
  • by Leigh Schanfein of Dance Informa.

If you happen to live in the Northern Hemisphere, then the most jolly time of year is also the coldest!  How can you keep your body warm and safe from injury this crisp and chilly winter?  Here are some tips for how to care for your body and the fashion to go along with it.

Get warm = Get your heart rate up!

If you think warming up before class means doing some stretching and rolling through your feet, you are incorrect! You need to literally warm your body up, from the core out to your fingers and toes, and the way to do this is to move around enough to get your heart rate and your breathing rate to increase. You’ve got to get your blood flowing, and if it’s going to get your toes warm it has a long way to go. Start with small movements at each joint, working your way through the entire body. This could be standing or on the floor, incorporating the whole body, starting with the largest muscle groups, and working your way up to faster movement. Incorporate pushing against your body weight and using the upper body to do so.

While warming up, wear large warm ups for the whole body, and your legs, like the new, popular Continental Cover Up from Capezio in children and adult sizes and long legwarmers like Love Always Leg Warmers that go above the knee with a luxurious cable knit.

Get warm before you gumby!

Have you noticed that it is more difficult to stretch your muscles when you feel cold? This is not your imagination, it’s a real effect due to a property that muscles have called viscoelasticity.  When your muscles are warm they are, indeed, stretchier. You can compare it to soft clay, which is cold and hard to press into until you warm it up with your hands and then it becomes soft and malleable. What this means for the safety and stretch of your muscles is that you need to get warm before you start to stretch! Stretching can be part of your warm up of course, but do not start to push your flexibility or go to your maximum range until you are properly warm. Start with gentle stretches that slowly move through your desired stretch and, as you get warmer, you can transition to held stretches that go further and dynamic stretches that use movement to go through a larger range of motion.

While stretching, keep your warmups on, so that you don’t cool down while holding stretches or moving through them slowly. A shrug or a cardi are perfect for keeping you warm, without bulking you up and inhibiting movement. Leg warmers are a must too.

Ain’t no Sunshine

It gets a little gloomy in the winter time with the clouds and the cold, so we tend to stay inside and cover up every single possible bit of skin. Unfortunately, aside from the good feeling we normally get from letting the sunshine kiss our skin, we are also missing out on the sun rays’ ability to help our bodies make vitamin D. When the sun hits our skin, the energy converts a precursor into the form of vitamin D that our bodies use and need. We already spend so much time in the studio anyway, so without the little bit of sun we might get in warmer weather, we can actually get a vitamin D deficiency, which can lead to weaker bones! How can we combat this? If it is warm enough, try to get five minutes of direct sunshine every day. If not, then make sure you find some good alternative sources. It’s not present in many foods naturally, so you’ll have to look for fortified foods like milk and breakfast cereals. And, if that doesn’t work for your dietary needs, then you can find vitamin D supplements for the season.

Beat the doldrums

Sometimes the clouds and the grey penetrate further and can make us feel a little sadder in the winter time. It’s hard when you can’t go outside when you want, soak in the sun, and feel lifted up by the beautiful greens, reds, and yellows of more warmer-weather flora. And as if that weren’t enough, you might have Nutcracker music driving you batty! A couple of things you can do to beat the winter blues include staying social with friends, taking some time for yourself to do a calm activity that makes you feel good, reading good books and listening to good music, talking about how you feel with people you trust, and getting enough sleep.

Brightening up your closet can be a great help too. Who doesn’t feel happier when they wear more colour? The Betsey Johnson for Capezio line of dance and active wear has fun, bright patterns and quirky designs, sure to bring a smile to your face.

Soothe your weather beaten skin

Along with the colder weather usually comes a drop in the humidity, and this dry air can be a menace on your lips, hair, skin, and your poor nose. We can’t change the weather outside, but if it’s really bad you could get a humidifier for your room. And to protect yourself once you leave those doors, use some fun and effective products that can help protect and restore moisture in your skin.


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