Forum: Adults / Adult Dancers

Get a physical! (karma: 1)
By odile53
On Sun Jan 25, 2009 04:37 AM
Made sticky by Theresa (28613) on 2009-01-29 09:32:55

I was reviewing some old threads here, and there are plenty of folks who are thinking of getting into dance, especially ballet, who have some pre-existing medical conditions. Everything from obesity to various nerve root compressions to arthritis has shown up on this board, accompanied by the question--"How long will it take me to get back into shape?"

As we age, gracefully or not, one thing that we all have to remember is this: our bodies are somewhat more prone to injury, and will heal more slowly, even if we are highly trained. That's just a fact of life.

You see all the time the caution: "consult your doctor before starting an exercise program." How many of us actually do it?

Years of sedentary lifestyles, maybe accompanied by an old injury or two, maybe accompanied by some less than healthy habits, set us up for some serious consequences when we decide out of the blue, so to speak, to get back into shape. Some of us can even be risking heart attacks.

The wisest course is to decide on some range of activity, and then see your doctor, who can help you identify whether there are definite health issues that have to be addressed while you are starting a training program. Taking the tack of thinking that things are okay in class as long as no paramedics are involved is probably the most dangerous course to take!

I mention this because it is January, and many people are following up on that New Year's resolution to "get back into shape." Do yourself a favor: Get a physical first!

9 Replies to Get a physical!

re: Get a physical!
By d4jmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Mon Jan 26, 2009 09:04 PM
One word - sticky!
re: Get a physical!
By smileywomanmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Sun Mar 08, 2009 04:48 PM
I agree with you, and can particularly relate to:

As we age, gracefully or not, one thing that we all have to remember is this: our bodies are somewhat more prone to injury, and will heal more slowly, even if we are highly trained

I developed a chronic Achilles problem. My doc says it's because as we get older, it's just harder for 'older athletes' to bounce back from pushing their bodies.

My foot doctor had me change from 6 days of workout (with no break) to 2 days on, 1 day off, two days on, etc.

We REALLY do need to take extra measures as we get older. It's just a fact of life! I require much more time to warm up for ballet because I can surely tell the difference being a ballet dancer pushing 50 (compared to when I was 19!)

So now matter how good your conditioning, you need to be sensible. If you're NOT in condition and want to exercise...MORE the reason to take odile's advise!

Thanks odile53 for this post!!!!
re: Get a physical!
By movedance
On Tue Aug 11, 2009 08:27 PM
This is a great few people actually discuss their exercise plans with their doctors.
re: Get a physical!
By odile53
On Tue Aug 11, 2009 08:45 PM
The scariest thing is what was called "weekend warrior syndrome" when I worked in the emergency room. That entailed someone who had done an activity years ago, adopted a sedentary lifestyle, and then took the notion to go back into the activity, figuring they might feel a little out of shape when they first picked it back up. However, all those sedentary years took their toll, and the "weekend warrior" arrived, sometimes via stretcher/lights/sirens, with anything from a sprained knee to chest pain. And by the way, a few of the chest pain ones I saw didn't make it.

We're getting ready for the start of the academic year, and the start of the studio year. Here is a good list of some things that you want to discuss with your doctor, and some tests that would be very useful for a middle aged (read--over 35) person resuming (or just taking for the first time) ballet:

Complete physical examination (including evaluation of balance, range of motion, and gait)

Height/weight/body mass index (including referral to a nutritionist if relevant)

Blood pressure

12 lead EKG

Serum glucose and HbA1c (blood tests to rule out diabetes)

Bone density scan

Discussion of one's dance goals with one's physician, including discussion of one's current health habits, and obtaining recommendations for modifications.

I realize that this is a pretty comprehensive list, and maybe people don't feel like taking the time, spending the money, or dealing with the intrusiveness of preventive health care, but look at it this way: If you were going to take a long trip by car, you'd get the fluids filled up and the tires checked at a bare minimum. You wouldn't want to risk a breakdown on the road. Folks, you only get one body, and unfortunately, at least in the United States, people generally spend more effort on maintaining their cars than maintaining their bodies!

Respect that body, treat it well, and dance forever!
re: Get a physical!
By rmdanceguy1
On Wed Aug 26, 2009 02:33 PM
I agree with this sticky very much. However, for me, my doctors are very happy for me to have any exercise. They approve any exercise for me all of the time.
re: Get a physical!
By HulaMan
On Sun Sep 20, 2009 02:05 PM
Can I point out an interesting fact here. I think the real issue is that with older people there has been long lengths of inactivity and so consequently the body has simply weakened. So it simply means taking some things very gently at first and REGULARLY, not once or twice a week but most days and very gradually building up. If it has taken some 20 years or relative inactivity then it may take several years to build back up again.

Comment #8630707 deleted
Removed by oz_helen (35388) on 2009-11-02 04:07:16 Hijacked thread

re: Get a physical!
By pink67
On Sat Feb 04, 2012 11:37 AM
well my 7 year old daughter was watching her show dvd & i decided to join in with her doing her moves ha ha ,and it felt really good to do it , i might take it up xx
re: Get a physical!
By SoloJazzDancer
On Mon Oct 15, 2012 01:48 AM
I've had a lot of those tests, not for dance however, but in general. I had some tests by Lifeline Screening. They are amazing! If you have no health insurance like I do, you can get the tests for a lot less than what a doctor would charge w/no insurance. I needed a bone density because my mom has osteoporosis. It runs in families and I have a thyroid problem. When I first had it tested, it was 10%. That was in the late 90's I think. I've been dancing since 1974 so I guess that's totally not to bad. I didn't have any of the tests again until about 10 years later. Guess what? It's still 10%! I've been told dance is a great weight bearing exercise. It sure is for me.

My dance teacher always says as you get older, you get less limber. When I first started dance in my 20's, I could not get a flat back. My dance teacher was afraid to push it because of my age. A split? Not even close. I'm 58 now. Perfect flat back and I got that in my 30's. The split? In my 50's! I can do things my dance teacher can't even do and she's in her 40's. Nobody tries to push me to do anything I don't think I can do.

Everything you said though is true. If you are going to start anything strenuous, something you haven't done in years or haven't ever done, make sure you make a doctors appointment to make sure you are fit enough to do it. I think I am unusual as far as getting more limber as I get older. You might not be.


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