Oh, the summer holiday. It’s a bliss for the tired dancer, you sleep in, let the ballet shoes rest a while and work on your tan, right?! Summer sure is a great time. But just as morning always comes after a great party, the season is bound to start again before you know it, and you don’t want the first months of the next season to seem like the longest hangover in your life. Dancers need to keep in shape even when they are on vacation. But how?

Oh, the joys of summer. But how to keep in shape?

I’ll give you some tips on how to keep your body fit and healthy during the vacation real soon, but first, lets break the “in shape” term up a little. What I mean with keeping in shape over summer is not the same as being performance-ready at all times. That kind of in shape is what you are during the season, when performances and long rehearsals are a part of your weekly menu. That kind of in shape is what we are having a vacation from. The summer-in-shape however, is not about looking good on the beach either. What I mean with the term in shape during summer vacation, is to keep your body at a level where you remain able to continue your training where you left of, obviously with a short recovery-period, but without the long-lasting deadness that follows after a month with nothing but late nights and where walks on the beach is your hardest physical challenge. The older you get, the more important this gets. I used to completely forget about ballet for a month every summer when I was younger, and didn’t have any problems at all continuing training afterwards (I was always an active kid, though). Now, I stay on the couch for two weeks, and my body feels like it’s 60 years old for an equally long period.

So how to keep in shape during summer?

Me with my new wheels, an old F. Moser Road bike

If I had to sum it up, there are two words that would be very central: Be active! Summer is fantastic for all it’s opportunities, you just have to use them. And there is nothing that is better for a dancers body than to use it a little different for a while. Go hiking, play tennis or bicycle – the opportunities are limitless. Use that body for what it is meant to: Move!

A trip to a gym might also be a good idea, but remember: Once is nothing. If you think of going to a gym once or twice during the whole summer, rather skip it and go for a good long hike, maybe there’s some mountains around? If you do go to the gym, try focusing a bit more on cardio exercises. It makes you burn a bit more (you don’t have the ballet class to start your body up every morning, remember?!), and isn’t as hard on the muscles as heavier lifting. Lift lighter than you would when in shape, with more repetitions if you feel you don’t get tired. Remember why you are there, it’s vacation. You don’t want to compete with Arnold this month, just maintain your shape. Arnold will get his opponent later. icon_smile-7123356

With a lot of people traveling to ‘a warmer place’ in the summer, heres a good tips: Swim. To melt down in a beach-chair is fantastic a hot summer day, but I promise you, it’ll feel even better after a good old swim along the shore. 30 minutes to an hour should cover most of your muscle groups, and will keep your body fit and respondent the whole summer! Just remember to swim along the shore rather than out to sea, just for safety, you know.

So, get out there, get active, move! But, as always, take care of yourself – an injury is NOT the way to keep in shape. Otherwise, have fun, and use your body. I wish you all a fantastic, active summer!