The Proper Way To Stretch Before Dance Class
Stretching is certainly an important part of a dancer’s training but should never be done at the beginning of a class or rehearsal. Muscles are like elastics. And a cold muscle is not as elastic as a warm one, so stretching without an actual cardio-vascular warm-up means that your cold muscles will have less length and elasticity than your warm muscles and you could possibly injure yourself. Any time in the studio should always begin with a cardiovascular warm up which involves the entire body, like rapid walking, jogging, prances, small jumps or full body circles.
This type of warm-up does exactly what it claims to do; it creates heat in the body. These large movements increase the heart rate, which increases the blood flow to the muscles. The blood, therefore, is able to quickly carry oxygen and “fuel”, in the form of glucose, to the muscles. The heat combined with the increased oxygen and glucose delivery, increases the speed of muscular contractions and increases the speed of messages, or impulses, that are carried along nerve pathways between our brains and muscles.
A proper warm-up will also help the different joints in your body release something called synovial fluid, which is sort of like a lubricant that helps when all the bones are moving against one another.
When looking for a proper dance class for your child, it is important to observe the way a teacher begins each class. By starting a class or a rehearsal without a cardiovascular warm-up, whether your child is just beginning or is a seasoned dancer, their risk of injury increases. Dancers and their parents are aware of how difficult it can be to heal from an injury and how quickly technique begins to deteriorate when a dancer must take time off to heal. While taking care of our bodies takes a little bit of knowledge and some effort, the payoff of having a body that is working optimally and free of injury is definitely worth it.
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