The Warm-up: sit-ups, stretching, movement across the floor...You know it well. Over the course of the season, the warm-up may even start to become familiar or routine - but do not estimate its importance. In essence, these first few moments of class can spell the difference between growth and painful injury.
The primary goal of a warm-up is to create heat in the muscles - a process that, ultimately, prevents injury. When the muscles are heated, they become more pliable and elastic so that they can stretch safely without pulling or tearing.
Before diving into any rigorous physical activity, consider these key tips for a successful warm-up:
At the very start of class, don’t rush out of your sweats. Help foster heat in your muscles by wearing extra layers of clothing. Choose long sleeves, pants, leg warmers or socks to begin. Once you begin to feel heated, remove the layers as necessary.
Mix in Cardio
Don’t limit your warm-up to static stretching alone. Aerobic exercises are another excellent way to warm the muscles. Be sure to include aerobic cardio moves such as jumping jacks and high-knees to prepare your muscles for vigorous movement.
While it is important to warm the entire body before full out movement, some areas may require extra attention. Part of being a strategic dancer is knowing which areas to target more than others. If the hamstrings feel tighter than usual, spend a little extra time stretching them to make sure they are fully prepared.
Listen to Your Body
Above all else, listen to your body. If you sense pain, stop, assess and regroup. Never push your muscles further than they are willing to go. Flexibility will increase with time and consistency.
The next time you warm-up, apply these tips as part of your safe dance practices. Be kind to your body and it will surely reward you in return. #BeTheInSpiration
Community Outreach Coordinator