You may be an expert when it comes to looking out for your students’ health, but what about your own? On your feet for hours at a time, working from dawn to dusk, you could be putting yourself at risk for injury, stress and fatigue. As a teacher, you should be setting an example for your students by keeping as healthy as possible. Clarice Marshall, who teaches injury prevention and Pilates in her own studio, as well as at ABT’s Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School, Mark Morris Dance Group and the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, offers these 10 easy-to-follow tips.
1. Get enough sleep. The amount of sleep a person needs is very individual, so make sure you get enough for your body.
2. Drink enough water. Three liters a day is recommended for an active person.
3. To maintain high energy output, eat nutritious food and snacks throughout the day.
4. Avoid the quick fixes that caffeine and sugar provide.
5. Make sure you are at a fitness level that is appropriate for the job you are asking your body to do. If you don’t feel confident demonstrating that grand allégro combination full-out, don’t.
6. Choose aerobic fitness that is low-impact, like swimming or using an elliptical trainer. Maintaining a constant level of aerobic fitness gives your body better stamina.
7. Cross-train with a fitness professional or body-conditioning coach. Having an outside eye on you on a regular basis helps to keep imbalances from
8. Study something new related to your area of dance work, like a new teacher training or a new exercise technique. Keeping your brain curious and active helps you stay creative as a teacher.
9. Develop hobbies outside your field. Dance is an all-consuming profession, but having other interests can help prevent burnout and reduce stress. Being too stressed yourself will stress out your students.
10. Recognize when you are becoming overwhelmed and develop healthy resources for reducing that stress, like getting outdoors, reading, massage, meditation, regular time off or a pet.
Illustration by Emily Giacalone