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The Importance of Warming Up in Dance

Why should I warm up before dancing?

We understand how eager you can be to get dancing! However, there are a number of reasons you should make sure you complete a full warm up before dancing. A safe warm up allows your body to slowly increase in temperature. Your body temperature should rise approximately 1 or 2 degrees, and as you’ll already know, you need to be warm to work on your flexibility, so warming up is essential.

Most importantly, warming up correctly can help to prevent an injury or pulling a muscle. Obviously in dance if your muscles aren’t warm there’s a very high chance you could strain or pull something. For the sake of a quick warm up before you dance, it’s not worth risking an injury and having to take some time out to recover.

Warming up before you dance also improves your performance. It helps to decrease any tension in your muscles and body by mobilising your joints which will help you to work on your flexibility.

Completing a thorough warm up before you dance can also prepare you mentally for dancing. If you get yourself into a routine of completing certain warm ups before you begin dancing, not only will your body be ready to dance, but your mind will too. You follow dance routines, so following a warm up routine as well will be easy!

What should my dance warm up include?

A warm up should consist of multiple types of activities that warm up your whole body, simply stretching does not warm you up effectively. Trying to stretch without sufficiently warming up can actually have a detrimental effect and cause an injury. You should include a combination of heart raising exercises and simple, slow movements. Your warm up should not make you tired; the purpose of your warm up is to prepare and warm your muscles for the activity you’re about to carry out.

It’s best to split your warm up into two parts. Firstly, a dynamic section and then a static section. The dynamic section warms up your joints and the static stretches ensure your muscles are ready for you to begin dancing.

The dynamic part of your warm up can be performing dynamic stretches such as leg swings or jogging on the spot. Start your dynamic warm up by moving your head up, down and side to side to warm up the muscles in your neck, then work your way down your body to your feet. This helps the blood flow to your muscles increase so your body is ready for your upcoming dance class or performance.

The static section of your warm up, as the title suggests, means stretching without movement. Popular stretches in a warm up for many dancers include toe touches, leg stretches and the splits position.

How long should my dance warm up last?

Your warm up can be as long as you prefer. Some dancers enjoy a really long warm up to ensure their body is as ready as possible to dance and to decrease any chances of injury. The dynamic part of your warm up should be no less than five minutes. You need to make sure the warm up raises your heart rate but doesn’t tire you out - it’s down to you to find your happy medium.

And as always, Happy Dancing!

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