The Cold Hard Truth: Warming-Up Is Key

You come into class, and you just want to start dancing! But there is one important step that you can NOT miss because skipping this step can cause trouble for you further down the line. Do you know what I am talking about? Yes! Warming up! It is vital to having a successful class for many reasons. And successful classes make successful dancers! 

The first reason why a good warm-up is important is whole-body preparation! Warming up lays the foundation for having a good class both mentally and physically. It allows your mind to open itself up to remember new routines and steps and prepares you for the rigors of concentration that can be just as exhausting as physical exercise. 

Physically, warming up prepares your muscles for movement by setting the stage for better performance. It initiates the preparation of the body for the movement between tension and relaxation in the muscles.

Secondly, warming up increases the blood flow through your body by widening your blood vessels and making sure that oxygen courses through your veins getting to the muscles! This increased oxygen supply to the muscles increases flexibility! 

A third reason by warming up is so important is for heart health. As you increase your heart rate the warm-up minimizes the stress that is placed on your heart. This is fantastic for your heart as it is a great way to prepare your heart for the work that lies ahead. It has been likened to starting a car on a cold day.

The fourth and very important reason for doing a good warm-up before a class is injury prevention. Warm and ready muscles are less likely to get injured and this is critical in the life of any dancer. Injuries can be minor but sometimes injuries can take weeks or months to recover from and this can set a dancer back. Avoiding injury is key. 

Warm-ups do not have to be very long with five to ten minutes of low-intensity activity is sufficient. You can customize your warm-up to one that works for you and your dance style, and it can include amongst others: isolated movements like shoulder rolls, dynamic stretches, and movements of balance and posture. Remember that consistency is key!

Just as vital as warming up at the beginning of your class in cooling down. Often this is forgotten in the rush to get out of class and missing this step can sometimes result in injury, muscle stiffness, and cramping. Gradually reduce your activity level allowing your heart rate and body temperature to return to normal. Stretching is a great way to finish off a great class!

 Happy Dancing!