I’ve had the honor of writing an article for Dance Magazine about what it means to be a healthy dancer. Here’s a snippet: “A healthy dancer has a healthy relationship with their body, food, themself, and others. They know when to take a break or rest and participate in key health behaviors, including sleep, hydration, nutrition, movement, and self-care.” For the full article in Dance Magazine, click here.
It’s also the backbone of my program, The Healthy Dancer®, and the reason I host my weekly interview series Conversations With The Pros. To inspire your work as a healthy dancer, consider these three key steps and reflections from dancers in my community. In this article, I’m uncovering 3 essential characteristics of being a healthy dancer and how you can implement the science in a holistic way.
“A healthy dancer is someone who knows how to live in balance, not only appreciates her colorful and nutritious dishes, but also knows how to enjoy a good oppurtunity with friends that involves food even those often consdiered “less” healthy.Brooke, a dancer in The Healthy Dancer® community
#1: A Healthy Dancer Seeks Balance
Creating a supportive relationship with food is critical. For many dancers, it can feel overwhelming to strive for a goal that encompasses a truly positive relationship with food. Creating a healthy relationship with food is possible, but it takes time. Also, building a confident vocabulary of self-talk will help to support your body image. Bottom line: balance spans beyond your work in the studio. A dancer’s ultimate guide to boosting body image can help.
“A healthy dancer isn’t one that looks a certain way or eats a certain way. Being healthy starts with your mindset around yourself and your craft (in this case, dance).”James, a dancer in The Healthy Dancer® community
#2: A Healthy Dancer Wears Multiple Hats
You’re more than a dancer. You might be a daughter, a son, a parent, a friend, a pet lover, a painter, a baker, a chef… Your experiences out of the studio will enhance your work on stage.
Being a healthy dancer means that you fuel your body with the nutrients you need for the work you are putting in, supporting your mental health because that is what is most important, and making sure you are doing things that feed your soul.”Sophia, a dancer in The Healthy Dancer® community
#3: A Healthy Dancer Builds A Support System
As a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist for dancers, I see first-hand the transformations that are made when we put our mindset first. So many dancers gather information but struggle to implement it in ways that support their individual needs. This is made worse when that information comes from sources not suitable to give it.
In The Healthy Dancer community, we’re deconstructing myths and reconstructing everything dancers need to build a sustainable eating routine AND a supportive relationship with food and body.
What makes a healthy dancer? Here are additional strategies
- Build a sustainable cross-training routine (here’s help)
- Create a hydration plan (read about it here)
- Honor your need for rest.
- Practice injury prevention with a solid fueling plan.
- Prioritize injury recovery, even if it means sitting out when injured!
For me, “eating healthfully” is a topic that I feel passionate about. I love colorful and nutritious dishes. But as a pefectionist, it’s easy for me to fall into what Rachel calls unsustainable “clean” eating habits. Since starting The Healthy Dancer®, I’ve been able to enjoy dinner with friends (yup, and order those dishes not otherwise meant to be “clean.”) I feel liberated from so much confusion and misinformation.Ana, a dancer in The Healthy Dancer® community