Health & Body

Ask Deb: How Can I Get Back to Dance After Illness?


I attend a performing-arts high school and have been out for almost a week and a half because of illness. I NEED to get back in shape. Do you have any advice?

My best advice is to support your health in as many ways as possible. Overdoing it right now in your quest to get back in shape will only delay your recovery.

I'm going to suggest you stop focusing on everything that is weak and not right with your body, and instead imagine your body healing quickly and efficiently. Imagine taking class and working on your audition pieces. I know it's a leap of faith to think that envisioning yourself dancing and moving will help keep you in shape, but research shows that the body doesn't know the difference between imagined movement and real movement. It will create the proper neurological pathways as if you were moving.

There's a lot of research in which athletes are hooked up to electrodes that measure muscle activity while the subject imagines running or throwing the basketball. Researchers found their muscles responded as if they were really doing it. There are many stories about elite performers and Olympic athletes who envision or visualize doing their routine and performances easily and effortlessly with an increase in their performance results. It's a great way to continue training while you're still under the weather, and it will make things easier as you physically start dancing again. Don't overdo it—I'm rooting for you!

To your success,

Deborah Vogel

Director, The Body Series

Got a question for Deb? E-mail, and she may answer it in an upcoming web exclusive.

To work with Deb Vogel in person, check out her summer workshop, A Dance Teacher's Retreat to Tuscany!

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