How Dancers Can Protect Their Bodies on Airplanes

Traveling is just par for the course when you're a dancer. But spending hours 35,000 feet in the air on a plane can have serious side effects once you land. Here, we break down the biggest pre- and postflight dos and don'ts to help you feel ready for that first summer intensive class the minute you leave the airport.


…eat a salty meal or snacks before boarding. High-sodium foods can cause swelling, bloating, and dehydration (which translates into bloated, swollen, non-pointe-shoe-friendly feet and ankles).


…bring food from home, like a sandwich, raw veggies (baby carrots, celery, or sliced bell peppers), fruit (an apple, banana, or blueberries), or raw almonds. Fruits and veggies help boost your immune system so you don't catch a cold from the plane, and almonds are packed with energizing protein.


…drink lots of soda or coffee while in the air. Pressurized airplane cabins are void of pretty much all moisture, so consuming caffeine or sugary drinks only dehydrates you more.


…try to drink 8 ounces of water for every hour you're in the air. Make sure you bring a reusable water bottle so you can fill it up before boarding, and ask a flight attendant for a refill while you're on the plane.


…stay seated the entire time.


…wear compression socks to combat swelling; walk up and down the aisle every couple of hours to give your body a break; do 10 relevés before sitting back down to loosen up your calf muscles and ankles; stretch each quad for 10 seconds.


…let the cabin light and noise keep you from getting much needed pre-performance sleep.


…use a neck pillow while you sleep so you don't get a stiff neck or back, and wear a blackout eye mask. The blue light from other passengers' screens can keep your mind stimulated, making it harder to fall asleep.

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