Get warm and stay warm for healthy and stretchy dancing

Brrrr… baby, it’s cold outside! You’ve still got to get warm and stay warm before you really get moving, but it feels so much harder when it’s like Frosty and the elves had a little too much fun outside. Fortunately, it’s easy with a few tips, and you’ll be ready to burn up the studio! 

First, though, what does it even mean to warm up? Is it just a few stretches and go? Nope. You need to literally warm up your body from the core out to your fingers and toes, and the way to do this is to move around enough to get your heart rate and your breathing rate to increase. If you’ve broken a sweat, you’ve hit gold. Here are some of our tips for getting warm and preventing injury. 

Photo by Belinda Strodder.
Photo by Belinda Strodder.

#1. Get your heart rate up!  

Now your lungs respond with more breath and you’re more quickly getting blood around to every part of your body, getting all that wonderful oxygen delivered.

#2. Break a sweat!  

When you’re warm, you sweat. Ta-dah! How you actually get warm is up to you. You could keep it as easy and efficient as possible with something like jogging, but maybe you want to prepare your body for the movement you are going to be doing and start to get some of your big muscle groups going. Because your warm-up should ideally prepare you for the work to come, your warm-up might be a little bit different depending on the day. Play around with different ways to move dynamically so your body is prepared.

#3. Figure out your routine!  

Play with a variety of movement, some that mimics what you’ll be doing, some that is completely different, to see what is effective to warm you up and feels good.

#4. Make time!  

There’s nothing worse than not feeling prepared, and a good warm-up can prepare you for your entire day, so give it the time it deserves. Remember, static stretching comes after getting warm, so you have to add additional time for it.

Once you are warm, you’re probably dancing, but sometimes the choreography is not terribly demanding, or you’re not in that part of the dance, or maybe you find yourself at a studio that isn’t heated well (BDC is warm!). You’re going to have to stay warm throughout your rehearsal, breaks and your whole day, so bring your fluffy clothes.

#5. Wrap up!  

Put on the knitted and baggy warm-ups because air is a really good insulator when it is still and not blowing around, so wear clothing that traps the hot air near your body.  

#6. Do a mini warm-up! 

If you had a break and your body got cold again, do a shorter version of your warm-up to re-invigorate your body before jumping back into the studio.

By Leigh Schanfein of Dance Informa. 

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