Importance of Warming-up Your Body Before Dance Class
When you are off to take a dance class no matter at what time during the day, be it morning, afternoon or night, you want to make sure to warm-up your body before class. It is important to do this to prevent any bodily injury; plus, your body will thank you the next day when you wake up and are less sore than you would have been if you had not taken the time to warm-up.
In addition to injury prevention giving yourself several minutes before class will help you re-focus and mentally prepare for the class. Use this time to make yourself aware of your breathing pattern. Listen as you inhale deeply and exhale fully emptying your lungs to again hit on that point of re-focusing your energy for your dance class. By doing this you will be able to get yourself in the “zone” and ensure you have a stellar class. You will also be able to leave any stresses from your day at the door.
Finally, warming-up will allow you to be more flexible from the start of class. You will feel better about yourself and you will have a better outcome.
Here are some tips and exercises you can follow to help get you in the habit of warming-up:
If warm-up is not included in the class structure really make an effort to arrive early and warm-up on your own. Give yourself 10 to 15 minutes before class to get yourself ready. Start from the top of your head down to your feet or vice versa.
Make sure you are breathing through your movement so that you aren’t going right into a static stretch. Starting off with a static stretch is one of the worse moves you can do to your body when it is “cold” because it can cause injury and/or muscle strain. Leave static stretches for after you have danced and are sure your body has had time to fully prepare for those splits and other exercises.
Some movements you can use are:
- Head movements:
- Side to side (4 times)
- Up and down (4 times)
- Circular movement to the right and the left slowly (2 times)
- Shoulder movements:
- Circles forwards and then backwards (4 times)
- Lateral arm stretches (right and left)
- Plies (bending of your knees) as you articulate your spine forwards and rolling back up
- Lie on your back and bring your knees towards chest and then take your legs to the right and left – always engaging your stomach muscles
- Lie on stomach and move your legs up and down one by one (like swimming)
- Bicycle movements while lying on your back
The more you get into the habit of warming up the sooner you’ll start to develop a routine that works for you. Remember everyone is different in what they need, so be sure to structure your warm up to what feels right for you. Happy dancing!
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