I was delighted to read on the UKA website that two funded, research projects are being carried out as part of three post-graduate Masters Physiotherapy (pre-registration) dissertations exploring the impact forces of Irish and Highland dancing and the potential influences on skeletal health, as well as quantifying their energy expenditure during their routines.
Participants in the research will be asked to participate in one or more activities from two different research projects:
Project 1: Peak oxygen consumption (VO2) in Highland and Irish dancers during a full routine (measured using the CSOMED k4 b2 portable telemetry system).
Project 2: What is the magnitude of ground reaction forces experienced by healthy 16 – 24 years old female Highland and Irish dancers.
Project 1 will measure the amount of oxygen that participants consume while dancing and project 2 will measure the impact force of participants when they are performing some dance steps.
This is very welcome research because little has been done in this area. I am sure that the results of these studies will be useful to teachers and dancers alike. One aim is to find out how intense these dance genres are in terms of physical activity – fitness. Another is to explore potential value of the sustained jumping impact on bone health. These data may also offer useful insight into injury risk in relation to the foot and ankle from understanding levels of stress that the body is under during Highland and Irish dancing.
Once completed this research might offer us useful data that can be incorporated into training methods and injury prevention for Highland and Irish dancers of all levels from beginners to elite. I will keep my eye on this and post anything of interest.