Staying Hydrated as a Dancer
You’ve probably heard that water is super important for your body, but you may not know the full extent. Did you know that water makes up an astounding 60-70% of our bodies? Or that your skeletal muscles consist of approximately 73% water? Lastly, did you know your blood is about 93% water and even bones and teeth contain some water? Water plays a huge role in maintaining a dancers’ health! If adequate water consumption isn’t already a part of your daily routine, learn more about the benefits of staying hydrated as a dancer, below.
The Importance of Water
According to the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing, “water plays a number of important roles within our bodies.” Staying hydrated as a dancer is especially important! Some of the benefits include:
- Transportation of nutrients
- Removal of waste products
- Maintenance of regular body temperature throughout different environmental conditions
- Maintenance of a healthy bowel, in conjunction with fiber and exercise
Furthermore, with exercise, the amount of sweat excreted increases dramatically. In most cases, drinking sufficient fluids prevents the body from dehydrating. The symptoms of dehydration can include:
- Tiredness and lethargy
- Decreased performance
- Nausea and vomiting
According to Atlanta Dance Central, dehydration also causes the brain to work harder to accomplish daily tasks. “The ability to remain focused, and problem-solving skills are also slower to respond. In dance, we have a million things to think about while accomplishing just one exercise, so it’s important to give our brain what it needs to focus properly!” (Atlanta Dance Central, 2018).
How much water do dancers need per day?
Every dancer’s body is different; specific recommendations will vary depending on your height, weight, muscle mass, existing health issues, and many other factors. Having said that, The American College of Sports Medicine recommends that athletes start their exercise already hydrated with about 17 ounces of water. Then, approximately 5-10 ounces should be consumed every 20 minutes or so. Again, these suggestions will vary person to person.
“…Your reusable water bottle should be your constant companion in the studio or backstage. Every dancer is a little different but pre-professional and professional level dancers should aim for about 2800-3500ml (94-117 oz) of fluids every day. That’s about 12 – 15 cups. About 20-25% will come from
foods like fruits and veggies, but about 80% comes from what
you drink” (Dance Informa, 2012).
What if you’re not a big fan of water?
Don’t worry, you’re not alone! The good news is that there are several ways to remain hydrated, in addition to drinking water. According to Dance Informa, you can “prevent dehydration by eating lots of fruits and veggies. Consider melon, squash, oranges, apples, pears, grapes, leafy greens and salads in addition to beverages like tea, whole fruit popsicles, sports beverages, smoothies, soy milk, almond milk, and yogurts.”
Try these tips from Pointe Magazine for staying hydrated as a dancer:
- Infuse regular water with slices of fruit or cucumber to give it a little flavor.
- Dilute fruit juice with still or sparkling water.
- Homemade iced green tea sweetened with honey is another great option.
- Blending together juicy fruits and vegetables, like grapes, oranges, tomatoes and cucumbers, also gives you more water consumption.
As for what not to drink? Stay away from sweet sodas and energy drinks like Red Bull, which have limited nutritional value. (Pointe Magazine, 2017).
In summary, staying hydrated as a dancer should play a huge role in your daily routine. “We should start to try and understand the ramifications of our energy output in relation to our fluid intake” (Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing). Always remember to bring your water bottle with you to the studio, and rehydrate before, during and after class. Up your water game, and you’ll begin to see the results in no time!