How to Stay in Shape and Keep Your Muscle Tone While on Vacation
Posted Aug 24 2008 2:20pm
For athletes and dancers (classical ballet and others too), time off without a daily class brings the double-edged sword of relief and anxiety. Relief to have relaxing time, and anxiety about not staying in shape and keeping the muscle tone they've worked so hard for. So without turning time off into a working vacation, here are some suggestions for daily routines to help stay in shape.
If you're staying at home and have a spot that you usually exercise in, then you are set to practice. If you are a classical ballet student, the challenge is great - there is really nothing to replace the demands of a ballet class. However, you can customize a daily routine to challenge your muscles.
If you are intermediate or advanced, it is easy to get a ballet class DVD to workout with. However, many are instructional with breaks in between the exercises. There are some ballet workout DVDs which are pretty demanding, but if you don't want to customize a routine that works on your particular ongoing corrections from class, you will get a good workout. Also, you'll get warmed up enough to stretch safely.
If you choose to do a regular barre routine, make a simple barre workout that emphasizes your weaknesses. For example, if you have any balancing problems, put in a slow rise and slow lowering into a demi plie in every exercise. And repeat without using the barre. If you understand where the shift in balance is coming from, you can correct, repeat super-slow-motion movements.
You can also include core muscle exercises every day, to help with the balancing problem.
You could sign up for local Pilates classes - they are wonderful for the elongating type of exercises, core muscle strength and stretching too.
If you are traveling in hotels or in homes, and will have a restricted space, take a stretchy band. With the floor space required to sit, move into second position, or lie down and lift your legs to the front back and side, you can do slow leg raises with the band, and developpes with the band. This challenges your leg and core muscles.
If you are preparing for pointe work coming up in your next session of classes, use the stretchy band for foot strengthening. Sitting, legs stretched out in front, pointe your ankles but not your toes. Run the band behind your flexed toes, and stretch your toes long against the resistance of the band. You increase the resistance as you need, and work out all your foot and ankle muscles.
This is good for men in ballet too. Strengthening the feet means you will not be over working your calf muscles, which pinch-hit for the foot muscles when they are weak. This leads to strain and tension, which in turn decreases the ankle flexibility and the degree of point that you have.
Swimming is great for endurance - if you enjoy it, swim a lot.
Stay hydrated, and eat good whole food to keep those electrolytes up. Dehydration affects your muscles tone, your energy, your brain function and leads to retaining water. Real food provides minerals you can digest, avoid those sugary sports drinks with a couple of token minerals in them.
I hope this has given you some ideas as to how to enjoy your time off without feeling like it is a working vacation, and with no worry about staying in shape or how to keep your muscle tone.
Read more here about daily routines, corrections, The Perfect Pointe Book, The Ballet Bible, and ballet DVDs for working out and staying in shape.