When you come to aerial dance as an adult, as I did, that usually means you need to support your new passion by working. This may lead you to feel like your daytime bodily habits are hindering your development as a dancer. How can you develop and maintain the strength and mobility you need while working all day? Here are a few easy to implement suggestions.
One problem is the way that many jobs, particularly office jobs, encourage us to remain stationary for hours at a time, leading our bodies to freeze up and lock in place. It is a good idea to get up and walk around, take a lap around the office or go get a cup of coffee, once an hour. In addition, having multiple alternative working positions can help keep our bodies from getting lazy or frozen. A convertible sit/stand desk is one way to achieve this. Having different stations available to work on different types of tasks is another.
Hours of peering into a computer screen can lead to strained neck muscles, which can bring that same tension into dance later on. Regularly relieve that tension by doing this simple stretch, right at your desk. Clasp your hands behind your back, then bring your hands over to your right hip. Tip your head toward your right shoulder, and slowly nod your head back and forth. After about 20-30 seconds, switch your hands and head to the left side.
Grip strength is an important part of being an aerial dancer, and it means we tend to have extremely tight forearms. Luckily, this is another area that you can easily stretch while sitting at your desk. Extend one arm straight in front of you with your hand flexed at the wrist in a “stop” gesture. Using your other hand, gently pull back on your fingers until you feel a gentle stretch and hold. Keeping the same arm extended, now bend your wrist down, so your fingers point to the floor. Use the other hand to gently pull your hand towards yourself and hold. Repeat both stretches on the other hand. If you keep a stress ball or grip strength trainer at your desk, you can also work on improving your grip. Squeeze it while you’re on the phone with clients or in meetings! Work your wrist mobility by clasping your hands together in front of you, then tracing figure 8s with your hands. Make sure to reverse directions half way through!
With a few minor adjustments to your daily routine, you can keep your body mobile and strong, even at work.