I’ve Got That Achin’ Feeling

Spend a couple of hours taking a dance lesson or practicing–the next day I feel fine.

Spend a few hours social dancing–the next day my muscles ache in all sorts of strange places.

It has always been this way, and I’ve never completely understood it. Why should social dancing impact my body so differently? I have a few  theories, but nothing solid.

  1. Less forgiving dance surfaces: Hard on your joints and feet
  2. More time spent continuously on my feet: More of a workout and higher impact
  3. Greater variety in dances done, and thus, in the muscles exercised
  4. Risk taking behavior: I like to show off a little when social dancing, so perhaps I push myself harder than in class?
  5. Little warm up time: I usually treat my first couple of dances as warm up, and leave it at that.
  6. Neglected cool down: This might be the biggest culprit. I usually dance until my feet get sore and then quit. I need to remember to do a little stretching at the end of the night.
  7. Long ride home in the car: 90 minutes sitting still right after lots of sweaty dancing  is probably not a good idea either. This one can’t be helped.
  8. Crash on arrival: I hit the hay as soon as humanly possible by the time I get home around 1 or 2 am. Also not good for the muscles. This might be a good time to loosen up as well.


  1. That’s an odd observation, but now that you mention it, I realize that I’ve tended to get injured (and more severely – 7 months off the dancefloor last time) after social dancing rather than practice. Around here, I’ve noticed a number of social dancers who can outlast competitors during the Viennese waltzes, because we’re used to 3+ minute songs.

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