As anyone who has ever taken dance classes already knows, when you are learning a new technique, your instructor will have you keep practicing it over and over again. This helps to create what is called muscle memory. Of course, it isn’t really your muscles that are doing the remembering, but rather that your brain to muscle connection gets faster the more often you repeat a movement until it becomes almost like second nature!
At a time like this, when dance classes are canceled, you might worry that your muscle memory will be lost, and you will forget how to dance! Don’t worry; it’s unlikely to happen. Muscle memory lasts for a long time! However, if you just stopped dancing for a few months, you might find the brain to muscle connection gets a little bit slower and will take some time to get back up to speed when dance classes resume. However, aside from muscle memory, there are other reasons to make sure you keep moving while at home, not just to maintain your fitness levels, but to keep yourself active for general health and well being.
Let’s take a closer look at how you can keep moving without your usual dance classes.
Although muscle memory isn’t something that fades away without your dance classes, you may find a dip in your strength and endurance levels. Even after about four weeks of inactivity, you should retain some strength and muscle memory does help to bring it back very quickly, but your aerobic endurance decreases quite rapidly and can be harder to build back up. It is a good idea to make time for some aerobic exercise while you are waiting at home for dance classes to resume. Some easy ways to do this at home include jumping rope, climbing stairs, running on the spot, or going for a bike ride if it Is safe to do so.
There are lots of things that you can do to keep yourself moving at home. You might also want to work on some of your own weak points during this time. This might include improving your core strength, working on your flexibility, or just stretching daily. We have many daily exercises led by our staff available on our YouTube channel that can help you to focus on some of these areas.
Dance isn’t only physical, it takes a mental workout too, so while you have to skip dance classes, why not look at some ways to train your brain! Visualization is a great technique to use to keep that brain and body connection active! Try listening to your music with your eyes closed and visualize yourself performing each step. You can also practice Mindfulness to help ground yourself and relax. This is especially helpful at stressful times and when you are feeling anxious. Our own Ms. Alicia has created a video on Mindfulness for you to follow along at home!