How dancers read. Photo by Jordan Matter, via dancersamongus.com
As a dancer, you're used to thinking kinetically, physically, actively. Your language is movement. But curling up with a good book after a long day of rehearsal may be just what you need to add balance to your in-motion lifestyle. Reading has more dancer-friendly benefits than you may realize.
Relieves stress. A study from the University of Sussex found that reading was the most effective stress reducer out of all those tested, beating out standbys like listening to music, drinking a cup of tea and going for a walk. Getting lost in the world of a book is believed to help ease tension in the muscles and heart.
Improves sleep. The National Sleep Foundation suggests spending the hour before bed winding down with a calming activity—like reading—to help you relax and transition into sleep mode. (Skip the e-readers at night, though. The type of light that emanates from their screens may make it harder to fall asleep.)
Expands your mind. Research shows that reading fiction may make people more empathetic. That broader perspective could come in handy the next time you're interpreting a difficult role or working with a demanding director or partner.
Looking for some great dance-related reads? Check out our list of 2015's best ballet books.