Many dancers find that running helps tremendously with endurance, but did you also know that yoga helps with both endurance and strength? This article doesn't touch on Yoga or Pilates as cross-training tools, but I have found they are perfect compliments to dance training. In my experience, because running is hard on your joints, it can add to your exhaustion instead of giving you an edge. I'd rather do more low-impact aerobic training like swimming or bicycling. Running tends to tighten up the leg muscles, so make sure you stretch very well after a run, so as not to lose any flexibility.
Here is an article from Dance Magazine June 2010 on cross-training, Your Body: Aerobic Edge. The juicy parts are below!
- For cross-training, many dancers use aerobics. But research shows that a "combination of strength and aerobic training delivers the best cardiovascular health, and that strength training actually contributes more than all that pavement pounding."
- Some dancers recommend swimming, as it helps with breathing, muscle definition, no-impact, and is relaxing.
- New York physical therapist Shaw Bronner, says that new forms of exercise that provide well-being and an endorphine release, and recommends swimming and biking if you are tired of being on your feet. She says that aerobic cross training boosts her dancers' endurance and reduces performance fatigue, which is a leading cause of injuries.
- Cut back on aerobic training during busy seasons and performance times.