Health & Body

Ask Deb: I Don't Have Enough Energy for Dance


I'm 14 years old, and I love dance more than anything, but after school and homework, I have trouble finding the energy to go to my grueling classes. Is there any food or drink that could help get me more energy?

Although there are many advertisements for supplements and health food that would have us believe otherwise, there is no one food that will give us energy for a grueling dance class. You need to consider all the elements of your daily routine that contribute to your overall health.

Although you'll likely still feel tired after a grueling dance class or rehearsal, if you're taking proper care of yourself, you shouldn't feel constantly exhausted or tired on a daily basis.

Here are some tips for taking care of yourself in a holistic way.

First, I often find that dancers are chronically dehydrated. Water makes up more than 70 percent of your body's tissues and plays a role in nearly every bodily function. From cushioning joints to bringing oxygen to the cells, regulating body temperature and more, water is necessary. So, a good place to begin bettering our health is to simply increase our water intake. Be a sipper, and get more frequent drinks of water rather than drinking a lot after you've gotten thirsty.

Next, you need to be aware of nutrition. One person's favorite food is another person's allergen. You need to find the right diet for you. Try keeping a food diary and observing how you feel after eating certain foods. A nutritionist could be a big help in sorting through individual food choices.

Finally, if you want to maximize your energy levels, you need to get sleep. A LOT of dancers and teachers are trying to do too much on too little rest. Some of us may even need more than 8 hours of sleep. Generally, the closer to 10 pm you can get to bed, the better. When you are sleep-deprived, going to bed earlier, rather than sleeping in, will help you feel better.

Water, good nutrition, adequate sleep and exercise are all important components of a healthy, energetic life. Having one part out of balance will influence all the rest.

I know you had hoped for a shorter and perhaps simpler answer to your question, but energy and health is something that happens because of all the small decisions and habits we make on a daily basis.

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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