Dancing During the Holidays: How to Stay Healthy on the Dance Floor this Winter

Friday, November 6, 2009


Dancing During the Holidays: How to Stay Healthy on the Dance Floor this Winter

An Article by Ritmo Bello Guest Writer Kelly Rice

Dancing during the winter is like a natural prozac; when it gets dark earlier and the cold air forces us inside, we seek the refuge of the dance floor: it keeps us warm, it creates a blissful distraction from the shortened daylight hours, and, unfortunately, it creates a paradise for viruses, the dance room essentially becoming a petri dish for breeding strains that pass from one dancer to another.

The good news, though, is that there are some simple things dancers can do to stay healthy during the flu season.

Wash Your Hands

Before you go out, while you are out, and when you get home. A simple thing that can prevent the majority of germs that cause sickness. Avoiding touching your mouth/nose while dancing will also aid in keeping you healthy. Simple soap and hot water are clinically proven to kill most germs, and the best choice but if you are unable to get to a sink, an alcohol based cleaner such as Purell will help in a pinch.

Get Plenty of Rest

Our bodies’s immune systems are directly affected by the amount of sleep we get and jeopardizing our defense system by inadequate sleep will increase the risk of catching a cold or the flu. Maintaining your daily quota (most adults need 7-9 hours) during the flu season will keep you feel better and healthier out on the dance floor. For those of you who love to dance till dawn during the week, consider calling it a night a little earlier if your job requires an early wake-up call.

Stay Warm

It may sound funny, but staying warm is another vital key to keeping well during flu season. Sure you feel warm after you’ve sweated your heart out to 30 salsa songs, but leaving the dance floor, soaked in sweat, and going outside and getting chilled can compromise your immune system and leave you feeling not-so-hot in the morning. Bringing a change of clothes, or at least a dry shirt to change into before going to your car is the best method to prevent chilling.

Vitamin C

Medical experts agree that while most healthy adults need about 250 mg of vitamin C daily, when the immune system is compromised or our bodies are exposed to illness or excess stress, or vitamin C requirements are increased. A supplement such as Airborne or Emergen-C has 1000mg and is easy to mix with water. When out dancing, keep in mind that excess alcohol is known to lower immune system, so when considering a drink at the bar, why not opt for OJ on the rocks?

Get Vaccinated


There is not much debate between doctors about whether or not to get the flu shot. According to physicians at San Diego’s Lifewellness Institute, the flu shot is the most effective means of flu prevention.

This year especially there are questions about the H1N1 virus, or swine flu, LifeWellness breaks it down for us dancers: The H1N1 virus is a new genetic strain of virus which was created when viruses infected both mammals and birds. The result was altered DNA in the virus, creating a new “bug’ for which we have no antibodies. So the H1N1 vaccination, when available, is by far the best means of preventing this infection from curtailing your time on the dance floor.

Remember to Keep Dancing!

Being healthy means participating in a moderate amount of exercise, so by all means keep dancing. Following these tips can help arm your defenses and keep you well throughout the winter so you can salsa, boogie or swing your way through flu season.

About Kelly Rice

Kelly (a San Diego native) is a substitute teacher, graphic designer and health coach. When not working, Kelly enjoys dancing and teaching zouk lambada. Check out what this dance is all about on the San Diego Zouk website.

John F. Bello

Meet John ;-)

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