Warm-Ups are a crucial part of any sports activity
Warm up activities are a crucial part of any sports activity. The importance of a structured warm up routine should not be underestimated when it comes to the prevention of sports injuries.
The warm up has a number of benefits, but its main purpose is to prepare the body both mentally and physically for activity. Warming up helps to increase the body’s core temperature and muscle temperature which will help to make the muscles loose and more flexible. As a result, your dance movements will not be forced when performing and the chances of stress being put on the muscles are much less, reducing your chances of injury.
An effective warm-up also has the effect of increasing both heart rate and respiratory rate. This increases blood flow, which increases the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the working muscles. This is why nutrition plays a huge part of your daily schedule. If you do not provide the body with the proper nutrients which it needs to recover, then you are still increasing your chances of injury.
When deciding what to do with a warm-up routine, you should start with the easiest and less strenuous activities. Gradually increase the intensity by building upon each part with more energetic activities until the body is physically and mentally prepared for the task at hand.
There are 3 key elements that should be included in your warm-up:
- The General Warm-Up
- The Dynamic Stretching Warm-Up
- The Sports Specific Warm-Up
Each key element is explained in detail in the training book for Irish dancing ‘Upping Your Step’, which can be found on our website www.irishdancingphysicalfitness.com
All 3 key elements are equally important and any one part should not be seen as unnecessary.
If you have just finished reading more about the key elements in the book, you should know that the process described is somewhat of a perfect warm-up. Sometimes these warm-ups are not ideal or convenient, but this is when the dancer needs to be responsible for assessing their own goals and know what they need to focus on most in the warm-up to enhance their performance and adjust their warm-up accordingly. But know that all 3 elements must still be included. Example: If you are struggling with leg elevation or if your knee flexes when you lift your leg when performing your dances, then you need to focus more on the muscles that play a role in this movement when warming up to reduce these restrictions.
The time committed to the warm-up should be relative to the amount of time you will be working for. If you are going to be working for 60-90 minutes, I recommend that you spend 15-20 minutes of that time warming up. If you are returning from injury, you may need more time and you may need to adjust your warm-up accordingly.
Did you find this article helpful? Please leave a comment. Feel free to like and share with your dancing friends to make sure everyone is warming up correctly. Other blogs can be seen on the website www.irishdancingphysicalfitness.com.
Add us on Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat to keep up to date with our news, travels, upcoming events and more.
Thank you for reading.
Peter O’ Grady
Author of ‘Upping Your Step’. A training book and DVD for Irish dancing.