Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Importance of Warming Up Before Dancing

The warm-up is one of the most important steps you’ll ever learn in a dance class. Actually, it is an extremely important element of any exercise program.

The object of a warm-up is to is to not only raise your body and muscle temperature, but to prepare your entire body for the vigorous activity that you are about to partake. A proper warm-up can prevent injury and physical fatigue.

During any dance practice or performance, your body needs to work hard to perform at a high level of stress. Warm-ups prepare your body for this increase in energy demand.

A dance warm-up should include basic rhythmical movements for approximately ten minutes. This activity will raise your internal body temperature approximately one or two degrees. It will also increase your heart rate and the blood flow to your muscles. Following this warm-up, you’ll want to stretch.

There is an important difference in warming up and stretching that many people confuse. Warming up is done before any stretching exercises. If a dancer stretches the muscles without warming up first, their muscles are cold and are more prone to injury. They could be subject to muscle tears or strains.

So, once your warm-up is completed, you’ll want to include static stretches to stretch the major muscle groups. You’ll want to hold each position for up to ten seconds while slowly breathing. It is important not to bounce or stretch to the point of inducing pain.

Warm-Up Intensity & Duration

While it’s difficult to prescribe the specific intensity and duration necessary for each individual, most dance instructors and industry professional agree that a ten minute session of warm-up activities helps prepare the dancers body. Of course, the duration may be affected by environmental factors such as the temperature of the room and the amount of clothing worn.

The level of intensity the dancer will be performing as well as the dancers proficiency level will greatly affect the level of intensity for the warm-up. A professional dance instructor should be able to guide you to the proper warm-up procedures and intensity levels based on your own proficiency level.

As important to dance is the warm-up, the cool down is essential as well. To cool down after dancing, gradually reduce the intensity of your activity for ten minutes. During this time, it’s important to remobilize joints to help flush out waste products and to perform major muscle group stretches, holding for fifteen seconds.
The practice of cooling down decreases your body’s temperature and removes waste products from the working muscles to aid in your recovery. Cool downs prevents such symptoms as light-headedness and dizziness which can be caused by the pooling of blood in your extremities. Cool downs also prevent muscle soreness and promotes relaxation.

About Wagner Dance and Music

Since 1989, Wagner Dance and Music, a performing arts school, has been teaching East Valley students. Our 3600 square foot Gilbert facility is conveniently located on the southeast corner of Gilbert and Guadalupe in the Big Lots plaza. We offer classes for ages two to adult in Ballet, Jazz, Tap, Hip-Hop, Lyrical, Tumbling, Cheer, Musical Theater and Voice as well as adult classes. For more information about Wagner Dance and Music or to sign up for a class, visit http://wagnerdancearts.com or call 480-892-7179.

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