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How Do I Avoid Knee Problems as a Belly Dancer?

Belly dancing is overall a healthful art form. You get both cardio and a little resistance workout every time you practice or perform. However, just like with any activity, belly dancing can be hard on your knees. Keep your knees healthy while participating in your favorite dance.

Adopt the Correct Stance

Just like with back health, knee health starts with having the correct posture. When you’re practicing the moves, start with the proper stance:

  • Feet shoulder width apart
  • Second toe aligned under each knee
  • Knees slightly bent
  • Pelvis tucked under

You can’t maintain this stance throughout a dance, of course – you have to move around the stage or dance floor. However, starting in this posture ensures you get your body prepared for the moves while maintaining support for your knees.

Don’t Do it if it Hurts

It’s amazing how many dancers – and athletes – think pushing through the pain is the best way to go. Pain is your body’s way of letting you know what you’re doing can cause injury.

While you’re dancing or practicing, if you feel a tweak in your knee, cease the movement immediately. Don’t let pride or embarrassment get in your way. Pushing through pain can worsen an injury, meaning you might have to stop dancing for some time.

Obviously that’s difficult if you’re in the middle of a performance. In that case, try to shift your weight to ease the pain.

Use K-Tape

If you’ve ever injured one of your knees, or if you feel some aching in the joint, invest in kinesiology tape. This tape functions similarly to an ace bandage, but it sticks right to your skin. K-tape also doesn’t restrict your movement. It’s not appropriate for performance, but it’s great for practice and classes.

How to apply K-tape to your knee:

 

Wear Shoes

There’s a conception that belly dancers need to have bare feet. Yet shoes offer much-needed support while minimizing the friction of skin on floor. You don’t want your foot getting stuck while the rest of your body has committed to a turn – hello, knee sprain.

Some belly dancers go all out and wear dance shoes while they’re practicing. That certainly offers the best support, but it also changes your posture for performance. Another option is putting on a pair of ballet slippers or cushioned sandals.

Warm Up and Cool Down

I’ve said it before – skipping the warm up or cool down before every class, practice or performance is an excellent way to invite injury. You’ve got to prepare your muscles and joints for the upcoming exercise.

Start with light cardio for a few minutes. Make it pleasurable by dancing to your favorite tune. Once you feel a bit warmed up, start stretching your muscles and joints. Just like I said before – don’t do it until it hurts, just until it stretches.

At the end of a class or performance, do the above again. Slow down your heart beat with mellow cardio. In this case, think yoga or Tai Chi. Finish up with a few stretches to minimize muscle achiness.

Have you ever had a problem with your knees while belly dancing? What did you do to prevent future injuries?

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