Most dancers understand that it’s necessary to stay hydrated. Yet, I always remember people having a hard time prioritizing that very necessary hydration.

On the other hand, I was an obsessive hydrator. I think my non – dance friends were pretty astounded by the sheer quantity of water I consumed on the regular. I just made it a habit and I am one of those people who also happens to love water so it wasn’t challenging.

If you consider the fundamental necessity of water for dancers you would think everyone would be chugging away. However, sometimes we forget why it’s so important or it just feels a bit challenging during colder months.

The top three reasons to stay hydrated are:

  1. Regulation of body temperature.
  2. Joint lubrication (for dancers, is anything more important?!)
  3. Transportation of nutrients to sustain energy levels (maybe that one is more important!)
Photo credit: Gui Seiz via Visualhunt / CC BY-SA

Go with the classic:

There are lots of ways to stay hydrated besides straight up water. However, water is generally the easiest and most accessible.  When it comes to improving your enjoyment of water I think having a water bottle that you LOVE can be a game changer. It’s kind of silly but very very true.

Eat your water:

During a webinar on “Self – care for Nutcracker Season” my guest Shelby Elsbree reminded me of one of the easier ways to stay hydrated in colder months. Sometimes we’re not so interested in drinking much water but eating water – rich foods will also keep you hydrated.

Shelby and I agreed that oranges are a winter time fav – they also boost your immunity so there’s an added benefit. Other water rich foods that also happen to be super healthy include strawberries, watermelon, grapefruit, cantaloup, peaches and most fruits – bananas have the lowest water content.

Many vegetables are also quite water rich, not to mention all of their other dietary benefits. To eat some vegetable hydration enjoy cucumbers, celery, lettuces, carrots, spinach, zucchini, tomatoes, cauliflower, broccoli and many more.

Check out this related post :   Why Dietary Fat Won't Make You Fat

Go Herbal:

During colder weather or when you’re spending lots of time in a cold studio or theater, herbal teas can provide awesome hydration. Just to be clear, herbal tea is made from herbs and spices and contains no caffeine. Some of my favorites include Peppermint, Elderberry, Ginger, Lemon, Rooibos, or White Teas.

Get Creative:

Jazz up your water with fresh fruits or sliced cucumbers – hello spa water! Enjoy electrolyte boosting drinks like these homemade options.

Skip the Caffeine:

I can’t honestly tell you to drink no coffee. I myself am a lover of coffee and am unwilling to give it up. Plus, you can find research to defend either side of the coffee coin pretty well. However, stay moderate – one to two cups daily should suffice and if it’s keeping you from falling asleep at night you’re drinking it too late in the day. 

An arguably better choice would be green tea or Yerba Mate because these provide milder stimulants.

There are two things I don’t think dancers should drink – ever. Those beverages are soda and sports drinks. Whether it’s diet, caffeine free or regular soda provides no positive effects. You may feel a brief surge of energy but it is not sustained or healthy energy.

Diet soda is full of chemicals and regular soda is full of sugar. The sugar is the reason I would say to also avoid sports drinks. If you’re looking for a healthy electrolyte replacement I would try something like Ultima Replenisher or Nuun Active tabs. 

Overall, if you’re not sure how well you’re doing at staying hydrated throughout the day check your pee. If your urine is clear or light yellow you get a gold star! If it’s darker you need to up your hydration game. Try out one of the tips above!

How do you stay hydrated? Did you learn anything new about hydration from this post? Share in the Comments Below!!


Water is not the only way!

Jess Spinner

Jess is a former professional ballet dancer turned Holistic Health, Nutrition, and Lifestyle Coach for high level dancers. She founded The Whole Dancer in 2015 after identifying a greater need for balance, wellness and support in the dance world. Since The Whole Dancer was founded, Jess has worked with 100's of dancers worldwide at top companies and schools. She has been featured in or written for Dance Magazine, Dance Teacher Magazine, Pointe Magazine, and Dance Spirit Magazine.

7 thoughts on “Water is not the only way!

  • February 5, 2016 at 2:24 am

    Fantastic post Jess, thank you for these tips!! Hydration is such an underrated support system!

    • February 5, 2016 at 1:29 pm

      Thanks, Shelby! I’m so glad it’s helpful and I agree – it’s so important yet not always prioritized!

  • Pingback:Eating light to dance lighter - The Whole Dancer

  • February 9, 2024 at 1:57 pm

    In general, I love your articles, but I am concerned about promoting the “detox” craze. The liver and kidneys ARE your detox. The “doctor” who wrote the article and recipe for the detox drink gives some very sketchy advice on his site, including very outdated (mis)information on conditions such as autism and even a link to Autism Speaks (a known hate group). If you like the drink or you feel it benefits you, by all means, use it, but please be cautious.

    • February 9, 2024 at 2:17 pm

      Hi Christina! So glad you enjoy what you’ve read here on the blog. I’m certainly someone who doesn’t promote detoxes, especially for dancers, as they tend to be extreme and unnecessary. That particular “detox” drink is made of juices and spices and wouldn’t cause someone harm if they were incorporating it with a balanced and sufficient eating plan. That being said, I would not have knowingly provided a resource from someone who supports Autism Speaks.

      I wrote this article in 2016. My own positions on certain approaches to nutrition and health have evolved quite significantly since then. I’ve updated the link to share some homemade electrolyte drinks. You’ve also inspired me to go back through the archives and make edits to reflect my current beliefs and knowledge.

      Thanks so much for bringing this to my attention and I hope you keep reading!!

      • February 9, 2024 at 4:04 pm

        My goodness! Thank you so much for replying! I see that, as you said, this is a much older article, and I know that studies and information can change a great deal over time. I hope I did not cause offense. It certainly was not my intention. <3 <3 <3
        With that said, I can honestly say that your articles have helped me avoid being excessively restrictive in my own diet and that they have helped me begin to view myself in a much more positive way.
        Thank you so much for all that you do!


        • February 11, 2024 at 9:18 am

          Hi Christina!

          No offense taken at all. I’m glad you pointed it out!! So happy to hear that the articles have been helpful. That means so much to me!!
          Happy to have you as a reader, don’t hesitate to reach out by email (jess@thewholedancer.com) or to comment again in the future.
          So nice to be in touch!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *