Tips For a Happy Healthy Jazz Fest

Taryn Cohn MSPT, COMT

In just a few short days thousands of New Orleanians will make their annual trek to the fair grounds in search of music, food, art and fun.  Although this journey is done with entertainment as the primary focus it is often accompanied by lots of standing, walking and sun exposure.  It is important not to under estimate the impact this can have on your body.  Below is a list of tips to help make your Jazz Fest experience one that is enjoyable and not one you will regret the next day.

  1. Stay cool; It isn’t always easy to find shade at the fest, but there are several options for intermittent reprieves from the elements.Take advantage of the music tents.  There is no direct sun light, they have mist machines for the audience members, and you may get turned on to some new music.Head to the Allison Miner Music Heritage Stage in the Grand Stand where you can listen in on artist interviews in the comfort of AC and indoor plumbing.Bring a shaded chair with you (google “canopy folding chairs” and you will find several affordable options)
  2. Stay hydrated; Contrary to the belief of many New Orleanians, beer does not quench your thirst.  Make sure you drink plenty of water.  The Institute of Medicine recommends roughly 3 liters for men(about 13 cups) of total beverages a day and 2.2 liters for women (about 9 cups).  So if you just can’t swing the water, there are several vendors that offer other options like caffeine-free iced herbal tea.
  3. Know the signs of dehydration:  dry mouth, nausea, vomiting, inability to make tears, diminished perspiration, muscle cramps, decreased urine output, light headedness, heart palpitations, weakness.
  4. Where good shoes.  If they must be sandals or flip flops, make sure they are a supportive type that secures to the foot like those designed for hiking or river walking.  By doing this you are less likely to loose your footing on uneven ground or get stuck in the mud.  The following are some good brands and examples of what I would recommend.  Chaco, Keen, Merrell and North Face.
  5. Restore and recover.  For some of you this may be the most walking (or dancing) you do all year.  Because of this there is a possibility you may experience some stiffness in the calves, hips and low back.  As with any physical activity, your body needs a post-exercise plan for recovery.  Make sure you take some time to stretch and loosen up throughout the day and when you get home.  Try some of these exercises to keep you moving: 1) Sidebending Stretch, 2) Calf Stretch, 3) Hip Flexor Stretch, 4) Trunk Rotation Stretch.



These are great stretches to do at the Fest or after when the stiffness sets in.  Hold each stretch for 15-25 seconds each.

Have a Safe and Enjoyable Jazz Fest.

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