Simple stretches to keep you dancing at your best… and prevent injuries! The most common reason for injury during physical activity is because people don’t put enough emphasis on warm up and stretches. We often forget about warm-ups and stretching because we are so keen to jump straight into the routine! It is important to always realise the importance of warming-up so we can get the most out of our time dancing. Don’t forget to share your favourite warm-ups and stretches!
Physical-fitness experts say there are a number of reasons why it is important to warm up and stretch before dancing. So I’m going to share with you the benefits of getting your heart beat racing.
- It increases your body and muscle temperature.
- Increases the flow of blood to and from your muscles meaning more oxygen.
- More oxygen in your body means more energy!
- Stretching increases flexibility and the joint range of motion giving you more strength.
DID YOU KNOW?
A simple 15-minute warm-up combined with stretching means improved anaerobic performance by 10%-13%”.
So here are 5 few easy warm up steps to use each time before you dance to keep your body fit and ready to dance!
Jumping jacks (or star jumps)
The first thing you need to do is get your circulation going and your heart rate pumping! You can do this by doing some simple jumps.
- Starting with your feet together and arms by your side.
- Jump your feet apart to an open leg position and lift your arms straight up. You will notice your body is the shape of a star.
- Then jump your feet back together and bring your arms back to the same position you started with. Repeat this to get your muscles warm.
You can also try variations of this warm up with other jumps or even try using a jump rope for a bit of fun!
Yes, it actually is important to stretch your arms too!
- Stand with your feet shoulder width apart.
- Keeping your arm straight, cross your right arm over your chest.
- With the palm of your handing facing you, bend your left arm up and cross your forearm over your right wrist. You should feel a stretch along your right arm.
- Repeat using your left arm across your body using your right arm to cross.
Don’t forget about your arms – strong use of your arms helps make your routine look neater and more professional.
The point of isolations is to focus on one part of your body at a time. To avoid a sore neck the morning after dance class, always warm up the muscles of the neck.
- Start with your feet shoulder width apart, knees slightly bent with your body relaxed and hands relaxed by your side.
- Turn your head from right to left and repeat following a steady rhythm.
- Repeat this tilting your head side to side and/or up and down
You can also slowly circle by dropping you head forward, to the right, back and to the left. Repeat this circling motion to the other side.
Leg swings warm up the entire leg and help limber up the joints in the leg.
- Stand on one leg with toes facing the front of the room.
- Lift the other leg off the floor and swing towards the front of the room then swing to the back of the room.
- Repeat the swinging of the leg back and forth then repeat the entire set on the opposite leg.
Remember not to swing the leg to high unless you have stretched your hamstring muscles because this can also cause injury such as pulling of the muscles. If you have any trouble balancing, try holding onto a barre, chair or the wall. Also try swinging your leg side to side and you can even use this exercise can also be used for warming up the arms by continuing the swinging motion of the arm in a circular motion.
Lunges are crucial to stretch the lower body and the legs. It will target both the upper and lower leg.
- Start standing with your feet together.
- Release your right leg and push it backward behind you.
- Let your from knee bend making a right angle parallel to the floor and keeping your knee in line with your foot. Also remember to keep your back leg as straight as possible.
You can make this stretch more difficult by deepening the lunge and placing your hands on the floor (or even your elbows if you are more flexible).
Dancing requires us to push our bodies in unusual and artistic ways. This requires flexibility, strength and control. The best way to ensure your body is ready to be used to its full potential is to always warm up and stretch. After all, the purpose of stretching is to help you have a more enjoyable, injury-free workout or dance class. Happy and safe dancing to you all!
What stretches do you do? Share your warm ups with us here at Energetiks!