Creating health is a lifetime responsibility.
Many top dancers have in their team of experts a doctor, masseur, nutritionist and psychologist to help them be and stay healthy, physically and mentally, and therefore as effective as possible in their performances. If you are not among the lucky ones and you have to take care of your health by yourself, this article will help you to become more aware of how to build your house of health.
Health disorders are very complex as they result out of your genes in combination with environmental factors, like toxin exposure and your general lifestyle. Lifestyles of all involved in the dance industry have some common characteristics that you should be aware of. Dance training and performances happen indoors, often with no daylight or enough fresh air. Working days are long, training intense, stress level is sky-high, sleep order is often disturbed, also due to many long travels, flights, where you get dehydrated, eat bad quality food and often with huge time zone differences. The feeling of tiredness increases and so you can find yourself in a vicious circle, desperately waiting for a short vacation to recharge.
However, your immune system needs to be charged daily. The immune system is essential for your survival, without it your body would be open to attack from viruses, bacteria, parasites and other infectious invaders. Your immune system is your army and it has to be strong enough to win every battle, to support you on every competition.
Your kingdom of health stands on eight pillars – nutrition, water, sleep, body care, physical activity, contact with the ground/earthing, daylight/sun exposure and psychological balance.
All pillars need to be in balance and each one deserves your full attention. Only a holistic approach can provide the desirable outcome, create your health and assure your strong psycho-physical condition.
Your nutrition is your intimate choice, related to your inner sense, specifics, culture and environment. Everyone eats differently, you need to listen to your body. If you want to learn more about your specifics in relation to your diet, I suggest that you do a blood test or, even better, a genetic test, which will show in detail how you digest every substance that you put into your body.
Remember, we don't eat to defeat hunger, we eat to get the energy that we need for optimal functioning.
A healthy diet is balanced and contains all groups of nutrients – carbohydrates, protein, fat, vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber.
You don't live from food, but from the energy that food gives you.
For example, fast food or meals prepared in a microwave are dead food. That kind of food doesn't bring any energy into your body, on the contrary, your body spends a lot of energy digesting dead food.
Therefore, eat vital substances, fresh nature-grown local food.
Carbohydrates (cereals, whole wheat pasta and bread, brown rice, banana, dried fruits) are the basic source of energy. In sports nutrition they represent fifty percent of calories.
Fats (vegetable oils – olive, linen etc., avocado, fish, meat, butter, nuts) are a very important source of energy. They should represent a minimum of twenty percent of your daily consumed energy.
Proteins (legumes, eggs, meat, sea food, fish, dairy products) should represent at least fifteen percent of your entire daily energetic input.
Vitamins (A, B, C, D, E, K)
A – goose liver, carrot, sweet potato, apricots, eggs, spinach, chard, broccoli, green salad
B – pistachios, veal liver, salmon, chicken, turkey, trout, tuna, banana, peas, black beans, almonds, avocado
C – most fruits and vegetables, especially berries – blackcurrant, oranges, lemon, red pepper, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli, mango, kiwi, apple
D – salmon, tuna, cod, sardines, tofu, milk, soy milk, yogurt, mushrooms, eggs
E – vegetable oils, almonds, peanuts
K – dark green vegetables – chard, spinach, broccoli, parsley
Minerals (zinc, selenium, magnesium, iron, calcium)
Zinc – oysters, sesame seeds, black beans, cashews, beef, cocoa
Selenium – salmon, Brazil nuts and cashews, shells, squid, shrimp
Magnesium – sunflower seeds, cashews, soya, black beans, cocoa
Iron – veal liver, soya, eggs, spinach
Calcium – cheese, especially parmesan, almonds, sardines, soya, Brazil nuts
Dietary fiber (fiber in vegetables, fruits and starchy/carbohydrate foods) are essential for optimal digestion and balance the level of sugar in the blood.
As a dancer or a dance teacher you are physically extremely active, therefore you need to consult regularly with a nutritionist regarding your nutrition (what, when and how much to eat) and necessary food supplements, because you cannot get all necessary vitamins and minerals with food and drinks.
Include a fruit or a vegetable every time you eat a meal or a snack. Apple is a very good choice, low in calories and has lots of vitamins and minerals.
Have a cup of green or ginger tea every day.
Use spices – cayenne pepper, black pepper, chili, cumin, oregano, ginger, clove, cinnamon, turmeric.
Snack on nuts (especially cashews and Brazil nuts), seeds (almonds, sunflower) and dried fruit – with no added sugar or salt.
Avoid any sugar or sweetener, use honey or maple syrup instead.
If you don’t cook much, it doesn’t mean you can’t prepare healthy meals. Eating mostly raw and unprocessed or minimally processed food is much healthier than overcooked, baked or fried food.
Water is the most important source of health as our body consists of more than seventy percent of water, the same percentage as our planet Earth. You are a microcosm in macrocosm.
The kidneys primarily need water for detoxification. An adult should drink two to three liters of water per day, about a liter for 25 kilograms of body weight. You need to drink even more water while practicing, competing and travelling due to intense perspiration or dry air.
Revitalize water from the tap or plastic bottles. It is very simple, just put the water from the tap into glass bottles and place them for a few hours on the windowsill in the sun. This is how water can be revitalized. Only then drink it, you can also drink it the next day. Maybe some of you remember that your grandmother never watered plants, flowers or the garden with fresh water. For the same reason, water which rests a bit, revitalizes itself.
Sleep time is your regeneration time. The quality of your sleep is just as important as the quantity. Deep, sound sleep is priceless, possibly in a dark, quiet room without any electronic devices and fresh air.
An adult needs seven to nine hours of sleep per day, younger and older adults a bit more. However, as you get older, your sleeping patterns might change. Respect that and listen to yourself, your body will tell you how much and when to sleep.
If you don't get enough sleep, especially over a longer period of time, all your abilities will decline and your immune system will seriously weaken, making its job of fighting illnesses more of an uphill battle.
4. Body care
Body care includes daily intimate rituals, like hand washing, showering, dental hygiene, skin care and many more.
As a dancer, you are extremely active, exposed to intense and long lasting psycho-physical efforts, therefore your body and mind require regular relaxation and recharging. You can contribute a lot by regular pre- and post-training stretching and other treatments that regenerate and rejuvenate you – massage, reflexology massage, chiropractic, bath therapy, sauna, Kneipp therapy, acupuncture. Consider this not only a pleasure but an investment in your health.
5. Physical activity
You need to be physically active outdoors, in fresh air in a park or forest. Not only to admire the beauty of nature with your eyes, but to smell and touch it. Hug a tree here and there, it's rejuvenating, nature offers all the health that we need. Stretching in nature, especially barefoot, will cleanse and reset your entire body. And walk, walk in nature as much as you can, take that time for YOURSELF.
When you can't go outside, master Gyrotonic or Yoga. That kind of exercise can stimulate understanding your own inner body map in detail. By increasing your awareness through the exercises, various physical changes and re-alignments will occur and you will start feeling them. For example, your body will re-posture itself, you will not need to 'adopt the correct posture' anymore, you will ‘be your posture'.
6. Contact with the ground/earthing
For months you live mostly isolated from the ground, wearing shoes or any other footwear. By being barefoot or in contact with the ground with any other part of the skin, you allow the flow of negative electrons from the earth into your body, which neutralize positively charged free radicals. Free radicals can damage the growth, development and survival of cells in the body.
To protect your health, walk barefoot in your garden, park, forest, beach, wherever you can be in direct contact with earth. The best for earthing is swimming in the sea.
More information: www.earthinginstitute.net
7. Daylight/sun exposure
You are a light being, all live cells in your body emit light. The source of this light is solar energy. You might hear a lot of negative information about the potential danger of the sun, but the life on this planet is sustained by the sun.
Vitamin D is one of the most important vitamins for your overall health, but many people worldwide are not getting enough of this vitamin.
Your skin produces vitamin D only if exposed to UVB sun rays. I'm definitely not promoting unhealthy sunbathing here, but 15 minutes per day would do. Unfortunately, no food is high in vitamin D.
Make a blood test and consult with your doctor about the amount of D3 that you should take daily as a supplement, especially if you live in a country with not enough sunlight and polluted air.
Why is vitamin D so important? In the first place to reinforce your immune system and to prevent bone deformities and pain in your joints, muscle weakness, tiredness, infections and depression.
8. Psychological balance
You exist in three time dimensions – past, present and potential future.
Traumatic experiences from early childhood onward exist in your subconscious and do not heal automatically. It is not true that time heals, through time you might just suppress those experiences deeper into the subconscious world, so they live there, away from your awareness.
Your pain and wounds are deeply buried, however the energy of unresolved traumatic past experiences exists inside you and can affect your immune system and cause various diseases. And then there are fear and anxiety, which also weaken your immune system, especially when the fearful thinking is emotionally charged.
We will go more into detail about your psychological balance in the upcoming article, it calls for special attention.
Now, put a lens on yourself and make some decisions to reinforce your kingdom of health, step by step, day by day...
Tibetan proverb says: "The secret to living well and longer is: eat half, walk double, laugh triple and love without measure."
Source of inspiration
Karin Rizner, Bioresonance center, Ljubljana, Slovenia