Although many accidents are unavoidable, most are usually caused when you rush your body to do something, what it is not prepared for. Accidents due to lack of warm up before any activity is common in athletes and dancers. Warm up exercise is necessary for your activity to avoid injuries to ligaments and tendons.
Many students involved in dance have been confused as to what a warm-up exercise should include. Many people into ballet believe that the pre-exercise at the barre is a warm up. This is a misconception. You have to warm up your body before you try to carry out things, which even remotely resemble a physical activity.
A warm up is a series of exercises performed before any physical activity. It allows your body to adjust from being in a state of rest to being active. It reduces the chances of injury by preparing you physically and mentally to dance.
The warm-up has following positive effects on your body;
Muscle elasticity depends upon blood saturation and muscle temperature. Thatâ€™s why muscles are more likely to be injured under sudden stress or strain. To make sure this doesnâ€™t happen, warm up properly. This will increase your core body temperature.
The warm blood flowing through muscles keeps them warm and makes them elastic.
Warm up makes your breathing faster and deeper. This allows more oxygen to enter the body which will in return increase metabolism.
This will help your body in circulation of blood effectively and in transportation of glucose to the muscles for producing energy.
Increase in body temperature will allow blood vessels and capillaries to expand. This will again help in circulation of blood more efficiently resulting in more energy production.
Motor nerves can transmit signals more efficiently as you warm up and they get more glucose. This will increase your coordination and reaction time.
It will increase your awareness of positions of muscles, joints and their moments. You will have easy time positioning your hands and legs, exactly where you need them to be.
You will not be distracted easily. You will be able to concentrate more on your current activity resulting in less risk of injuries.
As already mentioned earlier, as the elasticity of muscles, tendons and ligaments increase, your body will be more flexible. Flexibility is always welcomed in dance.
Start your warm up with simple exercises like jumping, skipping or any similar simple techniques. Exercises that involve simple, less stressful exercise like ;knee bends, arm sways, etc ,with limited range of movements are highly recommended in order to reduce the chances of an injury. Large muscles groups, like the one in our legs should be gently stretched and released.
Balance exercises are also highly recommended.
The duration of warm up is dependent on your age and experience. A couple of minutes should be ok for beginners, but more experienced dancers need at least 10 to 15 minutes of warm up exercise.
Similarly, fit people tend to train more than the others. It means they need to warm up more in comparison to get the same result, because your body is accustomed to longer hours of training.
One thing that you must keep in mind is that the warm up exercise must increase the temperature of your body without causing any fatigue or tiredness. Selecting heavy exercises will make you unable to carry out your usual dance routines later.
Also, keep in mind that if there is a long duration of break, for pre-performance make-ups or rehearsals, and in between your trainings, your body needs warm up again so avoid taking long breaks if you can.