In each issue of Inside Dance, we offer up the latest in fitness and health to balance your body and mind all year round.

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9 Summer Prep Points to Know

By Gina Pongetti Angeletti, MPT

Every dancer knows that striking a balance of flexibility, stretching, self-care, and nutrition is essential for optimum performance all year round and especially during audition, competition and summer intensive season.

Here are nine tips towards maintaining maximum health and wellness for even the craziest and most challenging schedules!

Static stretching is best done after workouts to help with muscle lengthening and recovery. For performance sports such as dance, however, flexibility is needed for practice and performance. So, after being warm, static stretching is needed, too.

Dynamic flexibility is stretching with motion. This is done before you workout to warm up the joints, ligaments and muscles, as well as let your body be prepared for the motion you are going to do!

Ice and heat. Icing truly only helps during the first 24 hours after an injury, or in the form of ice baths for anticipated soreness for recovery. Otherwise, ice actually limits and decreases good blood flow to an area, making you stiffer and delaying healing. Unless told to immobilize, mobility and treating the area with heat will increase healing.

Epsom salt. For real! It actually does work! Your body is often acidic, meaning that it is filled with lactic acid and food/water that is more on the acid side than the base side (chemistry, anyone?). Epsom salts are alkalinic, or basic. So… if you put the salts in water, making it basic, and you are acidic, it helps to “neutralize” you.

Push-up. Maybe one of the top three most important strength activities in all sports, especially those involving lifting and weight bearing on your arms. Done right, push-ups work your triceps, biceps, lats, pecs, abs, hip flexors and so much more.

Carbonation. It is one of the leading causes for bone density issues such as osteoporosis. Specifically, phosphoric acid, which leads to less calcium in bones and can make you more predisposed to fractures, too. Moral of the story – drink water.

Ginger. A secret of many athletes. In 2010, The Journal of Pain published an article on how taking ginger actually reduced muscle pain for people in the study by almost 25 percent. A nice, natural way to help you feel less delayed muscle soreness.

Sleep. One of the most important and restorative things that any athlete can do! It helps to heal the body, restore energy, relax muscles, allow the brain to rest and for the body to grow.  Get your eight hours, shut off your phones, take care of you – you’ll be amazed at how much better you feel, and perform!

Good luck!

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Anna Rose Johnson writes about women’s artistic and rhythmic gymnastics. She loves Whippets, brownies, and full-twisting double layouts. Her writing portfolio can be viewed at: