This is a guest post by Rob Dodd, a long time salsa dancer and friend of ours here at Salsa Bristol.
I’ve been dancing a little under 10 years – where has that time gone? In that time have attended a thousand plus lessons, many day “bootcamps”, loads of weekenders and the odd salsa holiday!
I would like to share with you some useful tips for keeping well and extending your fun on dance days or long dance nights (and those times when you are blending the two together!)
One of the biggest contributors to our physical and mental health is water. Three quarters of which should come from drinks, and a quarter from food. The key component H20 is very often neglected, especially on evening salsa scene. Keep drinking – rather than having a big drink, carry a bottle or 3 and take frequent sips. Best option is Still water – not too cold. Avoid flavoured waters which contain artificial sweeteners and colours. Tap water contains no calories, additives or sugar / sweeteners, so is great – but check first if you are abroad that is safe to drink, otherwise bottled water is good. I wouldn’t recommend drinking straight from the bottle though, sometimes those bottles are stored in unhygienic conditions.
Common symptoms for mild to moderate dehydration are given below *
- Dark yellow or brown urine
- Dry, sticky mouth
- Few or no tears when crying
- Increased thirst
- Muscle tiredness
- Sleepiness or tiredness
- Children may be less active than usual.
Whilst on a Salsa-thon (6 hours of non stop dance) we used an apple and cucumber juice. Each 750ml bottle contained a pint of water, ¼ cucumber and ½ an apple. You can juice the cucumber and apple and then dilute with the water, or blend (in which case core the apple first) the ingredients, add a squeeze of lemon which will help the juice “keep” . Cool as a cucumber – great for rejuvenating muscles, an excellent hydrator and will help keep you dancing and keep that brain working for hours on end!
We all have different tastes and food choices. So I will keep this brief. When dancing it is important to keep nourished, and light, refined sugar free snacks are best. Make your own if you can – at least then you know what’s in them and can adjust ingredients to taste.
If we have a demanding day ahead of us I often make a green juice – here is a typical juice that will keep you feeling radiant throughout:
- 3 apples
- 1" square ginger
- 1/4 lemon
- 2 radishes
- 2 handfuls of curly Kale
- 2" cucumber
- 2" courgette
- 2" broccoli stump
- Avocado and Ice
I do like something nice to eat while dancing. Here is a great protein bar that will keep you going (makes 10 bars)
- Preheat oven to 180°C.
- Line a large baking tray with greaseproof paper. Spread out the oats, pumpkin seeds and almonds evenly on the tray, then roast for 10 minutes in the preheated oven.
- Meanwhile, blend the apricots, maple syrup and water together until smooth, then transfer to a mixing bowl. Next, add the buckwheat groats, raisins and cranberries to the mixing bowl.
- Remove the baking tray from the oven and leave to cool, but make sure the oven remains switched on. Once cool, transfer the roasted oats, pumpkin seeds, and almonds to the large mixing bowl.
- Line an 8” x 8” square cake tin with greaseproof paper before transferring the mixture into the tin. Smooth over the top using a piece of greaseproof paper, pushing down to make sure the mixture is compact.
- Place the cake tin in the oven for 20 minutes.
- Remove the cake tin from the oven and leave the energy bars to cool completely.
- Take the energy mix out of the cake tin and cut into 10 energy bars.
For lunch (often there is a break during the day to snack here is a great lunchbox – this is for 2 varieties and is full of great nutrients and vitamins)
Most evening events have either a bar or bring your own alcohol option – but be aware that Alcohol is a diuretic – so it is sensible if you drink to moderate it and also balance it with drinking lots of water to counteract the dehydration. Also the dancefloor is a place of shared responsibilities – excess alcohol can and has resulted in accidents – people become less spatially aware, resulting in feet and lower limb injuries, and people fall and injure themselves after too much. I had a slightly worse for wear lady who threw herself into a dip whilst I was dancing with her. I wasn’t expecting it, she landed on her back and guess who got the blame? Yep.
Poor sleep is linked to physical problems such as a weakened immune system and mental health problems such as anxiety and depression. If you have a short term lack of sleep - let’s say you are dancing till 4 and up again at 9 for breakfast /lessons (as we do occasionally!) try and get that afternoon nap. 20 minutes is an optimal sleep time and will give you a mental boost prior to that evening dance session. I used to have sleep problems (I could fall asleep ok, but would wake up frequently during the night) and would thoroughly recommend a sleep awareness workshop. Mine was life changing – here is a link, they are local, friendly people (Lisa is well known and loved in the Salsa community)