Warm Up... Why?
I have already spoken about the importance of stretching, now let's talk about why you never come to class with minutes to spare! - YEP you are all guilty of this :)
Warming up your body before you attend your class is super important! Even though at the school we take the time to warm the body with free or set exersises and stretches we advise ALL students to come at least 15-20mins before thier class. Even as teachers our bodies needs to be thoroughly warmed up before the class takes place so movements can be carried out as successfully and safely as possible.
Whilst some injuries can be unavoidable, many result in your body not being prepared for the task ahead - warm-up before exercising is an important part of injury prevention. Putting extra layer of clothing or turning up the heating in the dance studio may make us feel warm, this does not mean your body is.
A warm-up is necessary no matter how warm or cold the environment. We suggest:
• Gentle jogging, marching or skipping.
• Exercises such as gentle knee bends, arm swings, sways, (step ball change is great!). Incorporating arm movements at this stage will increase the effects of the warm-up.
• Gentle stretches to the large muscle groups, holding each stretch for 10-15 seconds. An increase in flexibility through stretching may reduce the incidence of muscle and tendon injuries. You might want to stretch your quads, hamstrings, inside-thigh and calf muscles at this time.
• Balance exercises, such as standing on one leg, then being able to control bending and straightening the supporting leg and rising on to demi-pointe.
How long a warm-up takes will depend on your age and fitness level. A young child would be exhausted if they had to jump around for more than a couple of minutes, but a teenage student might need to take 10-15 minutes to be fully warmed.
The steps in the warm-up should be not overstretch you and should not include sudden changes in direction, complicated leaps or turns. Keep the steps simple and repetitive and leave the technical bits to the class when the body is warmed up and better able to cope with them.
Don't forget to Cool-down after your classes!