Dance Safety Tips

by Kenzie on June 5, 2012

Here are a few general tips for dancers to stay safe before, during, and after exercising. Click here to view the full pdf version.

1. Have your doctor clear you to participate in an exercise program.

Reasons not to dance until your doctor clears you include:

  • Severe HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE (hypertension):
    – systolic (top number) above 200mmHg and/or
    – diastolic (bottom number) above 110mmHg
  • Illness or being sick
  • Any type of injury that would be worsen by exercise
  • Recent heart event (heart attack, ischemia)
  • Recent procedure (bypass surgery, stent placement, etc.)
  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Uncontrolled heart failure
  • Electrolyte abnormalities
  • Arrhythmia
  • Aneurysm 

2. STOP dancing if any of the following occurs:

  • Chest pain or discomfort (and call 911)
  • Feeling lightheaded or dizzy*
  • Feeling unusually tired*
  • Shortness of breath*
  • Excessive sweating*
  • Palpitations or unusual fast heart beat*

*If the feeling persists for more than 5 minutes after you stop exercise,
get help immediately.

3. General Tips for Everyone

  • Wear comfortable broken in exercise shoes with closed toes and cushioned socks. This will help properly support and protect your feet and avoid blisters which can lead to other problems.
  • A slow warm-up is important to protect your muscles and joints from injury. In addition, sudden starts and stops add stress to the heart and could trigger a rapid change in blood glucose levels.
  • To properly “feed” your muscles with oxygen, hold your chest upright and breathe deeply and regularly.
  • Be careful not to get injured by overextending your muscles with kicking, swinging or flinging your arms, legs or neck further than is comfortable. You should never experience extreme pain when performing any dance move.
  • Dance at half time to the music if it’s going too fast for you. If you think you can last “just one more song” it’s a good time to stop. You should not feel exhausted!
  • Be aware of your body “center” to keep your balance on the dance floor. Keep your feet about shoulder width apart with a slight bend in your knees. From your center you can move up or down, left or right or front to back and stay in control.
  • End your workout with a slow cool down. Slowly stretch your muscles which will help avoiding cramping, soreness and stiffness later.
  • Drink enough fluids, especially if dancing more than 1 hour or if it is hot and humid.

After the Dance: Watch out for low blood glucose for up to 48 hours. Any type of exercise can improve insulin action and glucose uptake, especially if you use insulin or take certain pills to treat your diabetes.  Play it safe and test your glucose levels periodically during the few hours after you stop working out. You may need a small snack or meal with a balance of carbs, protein, and fat to help prevent lows.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

vijay biography December 1, 2014 at 3:45 am

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easton April 15, 2019 at 7:53 am

I like the tip that you gave to wear comfortable shoes and socks when you dance to help avoid blisters. My wife and I have been talking about taking dance classes, and it would be important for us to know that we can do so safely. If we decide to sign up for the classes, I will be sure to wear comfortable shoes and socks.


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