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October 27, 2016

Want to improve joint mobility, flexibility and strength? Consider ballet

Orthopaedic surgeons say cross-training is key 

ROSEMONT, Ill. (October 27, 2016) – Several professional football players have boasted about the positive impact that ballet as a form of exercise has had on their athletic career, from improved flexibility to the reduced risk of injuries. But athletes aren’t the only ones who have benefited from ballet. According to experts, this dance form can be an excellent way for people of all ages to improve mobility and build strength.

Expert advice:
“Most sports and certain exercise routines create imbalances,” said AAOS spokesperson and orthopaedic sports medicine specialist Nicholas DiNubile, MD, who has served for many years as orthopaedic consultant to the Pennsylvania Ballet as well as other professional sports teams. “Ballet can help to correct these imbalances and help prevent injuries because it incorporates elements of an effective balanced exercise program, including, flexibility, strength, core and agility training. The controlled movements produced in ballet like the demi-plies (knee bends with feet planted to the floor) and releves (toe raises) help to strengthen knees, ankles and feet. Arabesque (leg lifts to the rear) build gluteal and core muscles. Jumps help develop balance, and agility.”

Additional bone and joint health benefits of ballet:
  • Improved joint mobility: Flexibility naturally decreases with age. The stretching in ballet can help restore lost joint motion and improve function.
     
  • Improved muscle dynamics: Dance moves improve both muscle strength and control, increasing the amount of stress muscles can handle in high tension activities that involve jumping and cutting movements.
     
  • Improves athletic performance: Dance enhances balance and coordination, essential to every sport. Also, like a good rubber band, muscles and tendons behave more elastically and generate more force under tension when they are supple and compliant.
     
  • Builds strength: The use of body weight in ballet is a good form of strength training. This increases muscle tone, strength, and endurance, as well as bone strength. Being stronger reduces your risk for injury and improves your performance in sports.
     
  • Reduces back and joint pain: Ballet dancers have strong cores. Power comes from a strong core, which is also key to reducing back pain and preventing many injuries, including shoulder, knee and lower extremities. Additionally, a 2011 study in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that regular stretching was effective in relieving chronic back pain. Other research has shown quadriceps stretches helped decrease knee pain.
  • Reduced risk of ACL injuries: A study appearing in the American Journal of Sports Medicine found that dancers suffer considerably fewer ACL injuries than athletes participating in team ball sports due to the training dancers undertake to perfect lower extremity alignment, jump, and balance skills.
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons recommends individuals work with a skilled ballet instructor to learn the proper techniques before practicing this dance form. Safety tips are available at visit StopSportsInjuries.org.

 

More Information about the AAOS

With more than 39,000 members, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons is the world’s largest medical association of musculoskeletal specialists. The AAOS provides educational programs for orthopaedic surgeons and allied health professionals, champions and advances the highest quality musculoskeletal care for patients, and is the authoritative source of information on bone and joint conditions, treatments and related issues. 
Visit AAOS, at:
Newsroom.aaos.org for bone and joint health news, stats, facts, images and interview requests.
ANationinMotion.org for inspirational patient stories, and orthopaedic surgeon tips on maintaining bone and joint health, avoiding injuries, treating musculoskeletal conditions and navigating recovery.
Orthoinfo.org for patient information on hundreds of orthopaedic diseases and conditions.
Facebook.org/AAOS1
Twitter.com/AAOS1
 
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