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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at IUP chapter.

Being a dancer for 13 years has put a lot of toll and strain on my body. My mental and physical health have suffered greatly. Being a retired dancer now, I know how greatly these effects have been on my body. I wake up every day in pain. My bones grind back and forth, pop and crack. I used to be at the dance studio five nights a week from 4:30 until 9:30. These long nights I would mostly be in class, and I would have a thirty-minute break where I would try to eat dinner and do homework. But during this time, I would mostly eat, and my homework would go undone because I needed to fuel my body, so I didn’t pass out for my next class. Even though class would end at 9:30 I would then have to drive home, take a shower, and then try to finish my homework, but that always didn’t happen because I would be so tired.

I was on the competition team for a few years until I couldn’t handle my everyday life anymore. This is when my mental health was the worst. But no one knew and I was too scared to tell anyone about it. Even my best friends didn’t know. My grades in school were suffering and I couldn’t bring them up no matter how hard I tried. I wasn’t sure what the root cause was, whether it was not getting enough sleep, my mental health, or just not having time to complete assignments.

I have had so many problems ever since I quit dancing. I have gained two new doctors in the past 3 years for all my problems. My rheumatologist has said that dance is the main cause of the pain that I have in my joints. He has recommended that I get blood work done and check for proteins that are high when someone has a bone density problem. I have had multiple foot stress factures since I stopped dancing. The foot doctor told me that stopping dancing was the worst thing that I could have done to my body. Even though I am still very active every day stopping the pace that I was at when I was dancing has weakened my bones and the endurance of stress that it undergoes. I am also on a few medications that decrease my bone density and calcium levels, and I started those my senior year of dancing. Those same medications also decrease vitamin D and electrolytes.

Overall, it has put my body in a shock from stopping the stress that occurred every day. But I love dancing and would go back in a heartbeat no matter the consequences.

Heather is Disability Services Major with a minor in Educational Psychology. Some of her favorite things to do are spending time with her pets back at home and shopping with her friends. In the future she hopes to be teaching a middle school special education classroom.