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Does the cold have an impact on my body and my dance performance?

The time of year when the darkness is felt too early and the cold pierces our lycra clothes has arrived! This text will highlight the negative effects of cold on the human body that could affect your body health, to promote safe dance practice even in cold weather.

Drastic temperature changes

Dance classes are not canceled due to cold weather (except in certain extreme cases). In doing so, young and old dancers and their teachers must face certain inconveniences to get to their activity: wind, snow, -20◦, etc. The fact of passing from our living room displaying an average temperature of around 20◦ explains by itself that the passage outside is then very marked.

The human body is at a temperature of about 37◦. It has an internal control that allows it to adapt to temperature changes. If it is cold, the body will shiver (hairs stand on end), which will activate the muscles on the surface and thus create heat. Subsequently, other phenomena will occur to compensate for heat loss if the cold persists (see chapter 11 of the book in reference to this article to deepen your knowledge).

Not everyone will react the same way to changes in temperature. When it is drastic (from 21◦ in our living room to -20◦ outside plus gusts of wind), our body is then slower to adapt to this important difference.

The disadvantages of cold on the body

The cold has several negative impacts on a body preparing to dance:

  • Tight muscles, therefore less ready to react to the various movements proposed.

  • Less flexible muscles, not promoting adequate range of motion.

  • Blood circulation concentrated towards the center of the body and less in the periphery.

  • Stiffer joints.

  • Limited attention and concentration.

In the cold, the muscle weakens and tires more quickly. Certainly dancing is not an extended outdoor activity like a triathlon, but the impacts of the cold are the same on a smaller scale.

Tips to reduce inconvenience

  • Dress well to go from outside to inside: hat, mittens, coat, extra outerwear if for example we are in leggings or tights. This is logical, but it is important to remind ourselves of this and to convey these good practices to students. A poster recalling these principles can be put up in the dance studio or the teachers can give a short briefing at the end or the beginning of class to remind them of the importance of covering themselves well to avoid injuries and other illnesses (colds, flu) which will affect dance practice.

  • Use a layering system, i.e. several layers of clothing. At the beginning of the class, the clothes provide the body with a "wrapping" of warmth. As the student moves, the body will warm up and the dancer will be able to remove peels to be more free in their movements, having taken the time to help their body warm up.

  • Bring a change of dry clothes for the end of the course so as not to come out in the cold with wet and damp clothes.

With that, let's get ready to face winter for the next few weeks! Luckily, dancing will warm our hearts.

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