Safe Dance Catechism

What is the purpose of a warm-up?
A warm-up prepares the body (and mind) to move/exercise/dance. 1, 2, 3, 4

How does the body prepare to move/exercise/dance?
The blood flow increases to the muscles; the respiration increases; the connective tissue becomes more elastic; the joints become lubricated.1, 2

How does this help the body move/exercise/dance?
This increases the efficiency of fuel production in the muscles; increases the speed of contraction of the muscles; increases flexibility of tissues; and increases nerve transmission rates.2, 4

How do you achieve warm-up?
You achieve warm-up by continuously moving the large muscles of the body, such as the legs, and by moving the arms above the heart, then slowly adding more smaller muscle movement and mobilization of joints.1, 2, 4

How long should the continuous movement be?
About 10 minutes.2

How long does the effect last after ceasing movement?
30 minutes.2

What is the purpose of cool-down?
Cool-down returns the body to its resting state.2

How do you achieve cool-down?
Cool-down is achieved by reducing the level of activity of the body.1, 2

What is a stretch?
A stretch is a sliding elongation of muscle fibres past their current resting length.3

What is the purpose of stretching?
Stretching improves range of motion.1, 2, 3

What aids stretching?
Stretching is improved when the muscle is warm.1, 2, 3

What inhibits stretching?
Stretching is inhibited if the muscle is involuntarily contracted ie is working.1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

Is stretching required before exercise?
Sometimes - but after a warm-up.1, 2

Is stretching required before most belly dance classes?
No. But if it is, it should be after 10 minutes of continuous movement and last less than 30 minutes.1

Does stretching before exercise or dance lessen muscle soreness or prevent injury?

Does stretching after exercise or dance lessen muscle soreness or prevent injury?


1Dalgleish, Michael (1997-2011) lectures, workshops, private consultations
2Queensland University of Technology (2002) Safe Dance Practices
3Stark, Dr Steven D, (1999) The Stark Reality of Stretching, 4th ed (rev), The Stark Reality Corp
4Greeves, T (1990) The Difference between being warm and warming up Safe Dance Report Canberra AADE National November
5Fitt, S. (1996) Dance Kinesiology, 2nd edition, New York : Schirmer Books
6Calais-Germain, Blandine & Lamotte, Andrée, (1993) Anatomy of Movement - Exercises, Eastland Press

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