Reflections on Over-Training the Dancer's Heart
Training for any vigorous physical activity causes changes in the individual in order to reach a desirable performance level. Progressive increases in the training stimulus may produce an over-trained state. This was first defined for athletes by Deutsch and Kaufman of Vienna. Their works were translated into English and published by Warfield in 1927. The mental and physical outcomes of this state have been described by some investigators as "staleness," disregarding the physical process with over-dilation of the heart and impending failure. Because of their demanding schedules, dancers are more often over-trained than other athletes. Examples from lay experience of examining and working with dancers are cited. It may be impossible to obtain controlled studies in the scattered populations of dancers, but those who work with them must exercise discretion in interpreting the causes of the declines in performance.
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