My personal philosophy of why dancers should cross-train
As someone who has danced all her life, movement has always held a huge part of interest, investment & therapy. It’s been the place where I always could meet people and make friends, channel my energy & also learn and grow. Here I also learned discipline and the feeling of hard physical work. I was never into sports (still to this day!) but dance was this equivalent.
I went to my first step aerobics class at 11 years old and loved the athletic flow of the class. The combos and sequences were like dance and just made sense to my body. I added fitness to my life from then onwards. The further I went into dance and fitness I started to make the connection of how these two activities were very complimentary to each other. I gained a good understanding of how to shift my weight, where my body was in space (proprioception) and basically how my body worked. This awareness has allowed me to train with higher level performance trainers and keep pushing myself.
Incorporating Pilates into my life has taught me a deeper connection of recruiting muscles + dancing/teaching more anatomically correct.
Cross training also allows our brains to get smarter (really!) by forging new neural pathways that through repetition become engrained in muscle memory. And because our body is very smart & wants to always conserve energy, cross training constantly challenges our body to keep learning and growing. This body growth contributes to our dance in so many ways. Not to mention the strength and stamina we get from training & also the perky bum (ALWAYS a bonus).
As we age through dance, we want to keep our bodies as active as possible so that we can continue to do the things we love to do now. Cross training also decreases the chances of repetitive injuries & aids in recovery.
My Weekly Routine:
I aim for 5 days of exercise a week. I attend 2 HIIT classes a week (usually Tuesdays & Thursdays) at 6am – even though its hard to wake up I am always SO GLAD to have my workout done. I then aim to hit the gym 2 other days in the week to lift weights, get a bit of varied cardio in. I teach a pilates class Wednesdays online and in studio Mondays. I try to get into the studio early so I can get a reformer workout in.
I also teach dance so I get in some practice time and set up my class through training.
On top of this, I aim to walk 10k steps a day and take stairs whenever I can. During the pandemic I was working from home and sitting at my table working so I was only taking between 1500-2k steps a day!! Research has shown time & time again that low impact, steady state exercise like walking is an excellent stress reliever, helps strengthen & tone your legs and boosts mood. I have really enjoyed committing to these walks and it helps break up my work day or is a great way to wind down for sleep.
We only have this body now – treat it like a temple