When I first considered giving Julian high-quality vitamins in an effort to keep him healthy, I really didn’t think about the fact that the amount of dancing he did each week could be contributing to his health. Normally we think exercise makes our children healthy. However, too much exercise without the right nutrition can actually make them less healthy—and less strong and able to dance well.
As I mentioned in my last post, my sister recommended I put Julian on a regimen of Usana vitamins and supplements. Because he had allergies and had been my “sickly” kid, I approached this cautiously. (I approached the herbalist and everything else “alternative” cautiously as well.) She assured me that any questions I had could be answered, however, by Dr. Karen Wolfe, an actual doctor involved in the Usana organization. That relieved my stress. In fact, I felt quite supported knowing that I could get a medical opinion about supplementation if I needed one.
So, I am very pleased to have Dr. Wolfe as my guest blogger today. She is a medical doctor, author, speaker, former Member of 1996 Montreal Australian Olympic Swim Training Team, and health care consultant. Dr. Wolfe graduated from Sydney University Medical School and completed her residency at Royal North Shore Hospital. She also went to National University in Irvine, California to complete her masters degree in Psychology. She has a special interest in health care reform, disease state management and Mind-Body medicine. (Please reader her full bio, which you can find at the end of this post.) She will be providing two blog posts on the nutritional needs of our dancin’ boys (and girls). I found what she has written very eye opening. I hope you will, too.
The Nutrition Needs of Serious Dancer: How to
Stay Healthy, Strong and in Peak Performance Shape (Part 1)
By Dr. Karen Wolfe, M.B.B.S. MA
The rigors of training, performing and competing as a dancer place a great deal of extra stress on the body. Food alone will not provide enough nutrition to the cells to combat the effects of intense exercise. Today’s food supply cannot nourish the cells sufficiently. For this reason, nutritional supplementation is critical to a dancer’s health and performance.
Dr. Kenneth Cooper began the exercise revolution in the early 1970’s and actually coined the term “aerobics. He is truly the father of preventive medicine. His study of several of the athletes that came to his Aerobic Center in Dallas, TX, found that when they over-exercised during any workout, the number of free radicals* they produced would go up exponentially and just shoot off the graph. It did not matter what type of exercise his athletes were doing.
These excessive free radicals are known to damage tissue, especially muscle tissue during intense workouts, and to delay recovery time post workout. This explains why many dancers will find themselves actually doing worse and having poorer and poorer workouts the more they push themselves. Thinking there is no benefit unless they go all out, the serious dancer can actually develop what Dr. Cooper called “The Overtraining Syndrome.” This syndrome refers to the excessive damage to the muscles and overall immune system caused by intense workouts via excessive free radicals. These athletes develop fatigue, muscle weakness, inability to complete workouts as well as frequent infections and a depleted immune system.
Since dancers want to optimize their ability to perform well, and they want to train hard, the solution to this problem lies in optimizing the body’s natural immune system, antioxidant defense system, and repair system to protect the competitive dancer from free radicals. This is accomplished with cellular nutrition.
Every professional, pre-professional, competitive, or serious dancer needs to have antioxidants and their supporting nutrients at optimal levels in the body, which is what I refer to as cellular nutrition. This not only protects their health, but also allows for quicker and more complete recovery from their workouts—in this case their dance rehearsals, performances or competitions. It also will optimize athletic performance. When you combine the concept of nutrient timing with an aggressive nutritional supplement program, you give your body the best opportunity to perform at its optimal level.
I define cellular nutrition as providing the cells with all the essential micronutrients at optimal levels or those levels that have been shown to provide a health benefit according to the medical literature. This should be a high-quality, complete and balanced product that follows pharmaceutical-grade Good Manufacturing practices and USP (US Pharmacopeia).
Cellular nutrition should provide you with a wide array of antioxidants and their supporting minerals and B cofactors. This should include optimal levels of calcium and magnesium along with a filtered fish oil capsule. Every dancer needs to be consuming this level of supplementation.
Many dancers like to supplement their diet with glucosamine sulfate. Glucosamine sulfate has been shown to increase joint fluid and actually rebuild cartilage. It is a tremendous nutrient for runners and dancers, since their joints are traumatized so much by these activities.
For more information on antioxidants, fish oils, Glucosamine sulfate, or other vitamins and minerals, please contact Dr. Karen Wolfe. (Mention in the comments area of the form that you read her blog post here on My Son Can Dance.) Or go to www.drkarenwolfe.usana.com and look for “What Products Do I need?” Complete the online assessment to find out what your dancer needs, and order directly from that site. Or simply go to Usana and order.
*Note from Nina: A free radical is an atom or group of atoms that has at least one unpaired electron and is therefore unstable and highly reactive. Free radicals can damage cells and are believed to accelerate the progression of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and age-related diseases.
Dr. Karen Wolfe
Karen Wolfe is a national and international speaker, author and coach.
She is the author of:
· Medicine From the Inside Out
· An Enlightened Guide to Menopause
· Give Stress
· Successful Aging
· A Wise Woman’s Approach to Healing and Cancer
· What Your Doctor Doesn’t Know About Nutritional Medicine
Dr. Wolfe is a pioneer in wellness. She has extensive experience in health care, wellness and disease management and presents at local, national and international conferences on subjects such as Mind/Body Medicine, health care reform, managed care, specific disease management strategies and integrated health management.
She is a licensed physician in her homeland Australia. She worked initially as a family physician followed by 8 years of experience in the administration of national health care, wellness and senior programs in her role as the Medical Director of the Australian Government Health Service.
Dr. Wolfe has extensive experience as a physician, speaker, author and health care consultant. She is a national and international speaker on topics such as “Integrating Complementary Medicine Into Managed Care”,” The Mind/Body Connection for Health and Wellness”, “Understanding Managed Care” and many specific health topics. Dr. Wolfe graduated from Sydney University Medical School and completed her residency at Royal North Shore Hospital. She also went to National University in Irvine, California to complete her Masters Degree in Psychology and she has a special interest in health care reform, disease state management and Mind-Body medicine.
Dr. Wolfe is the immediate past President of the Orange County Wellness Coalition. This is a coalition of over 100 multi-disciplinary professionals which exists to enhance the health status of individuals in the community.
Dr. Wolfe is the Principal of Healing Quest, her company dedicated to bringing an integrated healing model into the health and wellness community.