Back to school means back to dance full-time. But while you might be excited to spend every evening in the studio, your body likely isn't—and it'll let you know with some killer soreness the next morning. When should you push through the achiness and when should you take it easy? Dance Spirit looked to Natalie Imrisek, MSPT, CSCS, for advice.
Know the Type
"Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) begins to develop 12 to 24 hours after an increase in physical activity, and resolves itself in around 72 hours," Imrisek says. "Acute soreness, on the other hand, is immediate, often accompanied by sharp pains, tenderness and swelling," Imrisek says.
Know the Treatment
"The best way to alleviate DOMS is by progressing slowly into your activity, as opposed to jumping in all at once," Imrisek says. Cross-training in your downtime is a great way to prime your body for a full dance schedule. But some soreness is inevitable, so Imrisek recommends sticking to the following routine: "A proper warm-up before class, followed by stretching, foam-rolling and massaging after, and an Epsom salts bath once you're home." DOMS will fade after a few days of consistent activity and attention, and you'll be back in the swing of things before you know it. Acute soreness, combined with a loss of function, can signify injury, so if you suspect you've hurt yourself, Imrisek says, it's best to stop dancing and seek medical advice rather than push through.