Beware of Fresh Flexibility

In our January issue's Health column, we explain how to get dancers in shape after vacation with minimal soreness and suffering.

A funny thing can happen when dancers get back to class after a break. Sometimes they feel more flexible than before. Physical therapist Julie Green says it’s not an illusion, but it poses a risk.

Constantly working and stretching muscles causes microtraumas, or tiny tears in muscle fibers. Rest lets muscles heal, so after a break, a dancer may feel able to work into her flexibility in a way she couldn’t before. But discourage her from overdoing it, or she’ll be sore and stiff the next day. Green says, “You have to be careful if you’re at a new end range you haven’t used before.”

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