Physiology of Warm-up

The Importance of warming up and Cooling Down

By Marli Morgan – Physiotherapist
Contributor: Kyle John Behrens – Director, DANCECORP

Good day dancers!

Hope you are all keeping warm during this icy weather and remembering to warm up and cool down properly! Luckily I know that your teachers do a brilliant warm-up and cool-down as I have experienced this myself!

Who am I and why am I writing to you?

My name is Marli Morgan, dancer at heart and Physiotherapist by profession. It is my goal to assist dancers in reaching their dreams while helping them to remain injury free and/or assist with rehabilitation should there have been an existing injury. Before I became a physiotherapist I completed my Royal Academy of Dancing (ballet) training and received my Solo Seal Award (Highest award in RAD training). I danced with the Cape Town City Ballet for 4 years before enrolling to become a Physiotherapist.

So, back to warming up, you know it’s good for you and that you should do it, but have you ever thought why? What happens to your body when you are warming up?

Here are some pointers;

  1. You are increasing the blood flow to/through your muscles and with this you’reincreasing the way your muscles get their petrol – via O2. Haemoglobin (cells in our blood that carry O2) releases O2 much easier when muscles are warmer. Therefore, warmer muscles = more O2 = more petrol for your muscles to work properly.
  2. You are also increasing the speed at which your muscles can contract and relax
  3. Better and faster recruitment of muscle fibres, therefore decreased risk of
  4. injuring yourself due to poor muscle control
  5. Increase of general metabolism
  6. Increasing your heartrate to optimal level before going full out
  7. Allows time to get yourself mentally focused and prepared for what you are
  8. about to do

And why do we have to cool down?

  1. It helps your body to get rid of waste products including lactic acid (this causes that nice stiff/sore feeling 1-2 days after exercising)
  2. Reduces the chance of getting DOMS (delayed onset muscle stiffness
  3. Reduces the level of adrenaline (that was just pumped into your system
  4. during dance)
  5. Allows your heartrate to recover

Warm-up + cool-down = better muscle control & less injuries!

Cheers! Till next time . . .

Morgan Physiotherapy

Morgan Physiotherapy consists of a husband and wife team with a combined experience of 23 years. We both are passionate about helping people and imparting knowledge.

Assessing, treating & preventing painful movement, restoring normal function or preventing recurring injuries, and empowering an individual with knowledge.


PR NO: 0479926
+27 (0)73 551 9488
Cradlestone Virgin Active Cnr Hendrik Potgieter & Furrow Drift Krugersdorp, Gauteng 1747

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