You’ve Got Rhythm

Now that daylight savings time has traded places with the proverbial standard time, I thought I would bring up some interesting pointers in the “rhythm” category. Since all dancers must have rhythm to fully execute their dancing styles, these helpful hints will ensure your success in both dancing and your all around health.

In case you didn’t know it, we all have rhythm. It’s called circadian rhythm and it is a biological process that occurs naturally on a 24-hour cycle. Our whole bodies are controlled by circadian rhythm even in the absence of light. That is why we have standard time and daylight saving time to differentiate these light patterns, so our bodies can adjust and regulate accordingly. In other words, we use circadian rhythms to modulate our bodily functions, so to speak, based upon sunlight and temperature.

Quite effectively, circadian rhythms are fundamental in determining our sleeping and feeding patterns. These patterns affect our brain wave activity, hormone production, cell regeneration and other biological activities linked to the daily cycle.

Here are some well-known facts based upon scientific research, to keep our bodies in the perfect rhythm that dancers are known for:

Avoid exercising late in the day

Avoid processed foods that can induce a phase shift like soybean oil and cornstarch

Consume lots of colorful antioxidant rich fruits and vegetables, especially those rich in polyphenols.  This is such an important subject because what we put in our body matters.  Optimum performance is greatly enhanced when we choose to eat these foods.  Vegetables rich in polyphenols are:  artichokes, onions (red and yellow), potatoes, red lettuce, asparagus and spinach.  Fruits rich in  polyphenols are all the berries like blueberries, blackberries and strawberries, cherries, plums, nectarines, apples, grapes, peaches and apricots.

Don’t eat late at night

Eat your biggest meals earlier in the day

Follow a regular meal schedule within a restricted time period, usually within 8 hours.  High fat meals were shown to produce better metabolic outcomes than eating throughout the day

Get  good night’s sleep and avoid night-shift work when possible

Limit caffeine, as it can shift circadian rhythms

Try to expose yourself to sunlight during the day

Minimize your light exposure at night

Sometimes health problems can occur if we ignore or disrupt the circadian rhythm cycles. Some of these problems are:

– Allergies – Asthma – Cardiovascular disease – Hypertension – Insomnia – Jet lag – Metabolic disorders – Neurological disorders – Psychiatric disorders

There you have it my dancer friends.  Very good information, often times overlooked or taken for granted.  Sometimes the simple things can make a big difference.  And because knowledge is power, keeping our delicate and precious circadian rhythms intact and in motion makes good sense.  All things being equal, keeping in the rhythmic scheme of things, is right up a dancer’s alley!

Happy dancing,

Thought Of The Week:

Awareness is the greatest agent for change  –  Eckart Tolle


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Shane Meuwissen is the Media Specialist for Fordney Foundation.  He is a former dance instructor who know works with his company Slow Motion Dance Videos capture the beauty of dancing. If you would like to learn more about Shane and his video work, visit his website