Improve Your Dancing: Cool Down, Warm Up – How To Control Your Body Temperature.

Guest Writer: Dr. Erik Wischnewski        Editing And Translation: Kerstin Lange    Photography: Helmut Römhild


Cool Down, Warm Up: Let the body run smoothly.

Aspects of nutriton, the body's chemistry as well as the laws of physics decide whether the athlete suffers from cramps, pain and other problems with muscles, tendons and ligaments.


Warm up – for at least 20 minutes!

Never start cold. Always warm up.

Start cold and be prepared to be stopped after only a quarter of an hour - like many others - by pain in the knees.

Remember when you had to run to be in time for the training? Yes, you were sweating but all your joints were flexible.

Always warm up before training or before entering a competion: every athlete knows that.

But did you also know that warming up means to warm up for at least 20 minutes?
Only after such an interval the body gets ready for the impact of training and competition, because

the human body uses its resources very economically, it doesn't do anything beyond the necessary.

Normally the muscles, ligaments, tendons, and the attached blood vessels and nerves are under no stress, meaning the body doesn't care much for them.

Only if the body gets the signal that it will have to work hard for a longer interval it reacts to the challenge and starts to support the organism.

Any other strategy would be a waste of resources. Therefore just to exercise for 2 minutes doesn't produce any effect.

The body waits until there is some confirmation that the impact will last.

A warm up of at least 20 minutes is such a confirmation and triggers the necessary reaction.


Erik Wischnewski

Dr. Erik Wischnewski

Author of proLife, a systematic approach
to a balanced diet.

Diet And Dancesport.

To each kind of sport belongs a specific diet: combat sports, sports requiring reactive power, sports requiring endurance ...

Dancing belongs to the competitive games.
In this type of sports the athlete experiences moments of high impact followed by intervals of slow or even no activity.
90 seconds of dancing is followed in most cases by an overlong break, ‘breaks’ also being part of every dance: posing, music suddenly changing tempo ...

In addition dancers need endurance and should be able to instantly accelerate and stop.

All this is typical for soccer, tennis, handball – and they provide the name for this type of sport: games.

Diet and dancesport – what a dancer needs, what a dancer should avoid: in a series of articles Dr. Erik Wischnewski will provide the basics of an optimal diet for dancers.


Cool down - actively!

The warm up's counterpart is the cool down.

But be careful. It doesn't mean to take a cold shower after the trainig: that would be definitely wrong.
What happens if a flexible object is suddenly chilled?

The faster the object's temperature goes down the more the object becomes like glass -

not only inflexible but easily breakable.

If this happens to muscles, ligaments and tendons it leads to chronic pain, injuries and often to permanent damage.

The correct way is to cool down slowly.

And like the extensive warm up at the beginning it is necessary to actively cool down at the end and carefully bring back the body to normal.

The long distance runners at the Olympic Games take the lap of honour not only to enjoy the applause but to actively and slowly cool down.
Learn from them the cool down strategy.

How to cool down actively?

Cooling down means to bring down the body's temperature

•  slowly, avoiding any sudden drop in temperature
•  making movements similar to those which were used in the specific sport:

... dancers will use dancing steps and figures

to come back to normal. Just stretching is not enough.

On a tournament there should be not only the possiblity to go through the steps and warm up before the performance but also to cool down.

A 15 to 20 minutes chill out ...

in separate room, on a separate floor, dancing, chilling out to disco music would be perfect.

The above cooling down strategy is not a foolproof method to avoid muscle ache.
But it certainly is a step into the right direction.


Cooling down: Aspects of nutrition and metabolism.

Glycolysis is the part of the metabolism from which dancers obtain the energy to win.
The products of glycolysis, especially the notorious lactic acid, need to be removed from the body.

Garbage removal ...

Lactic acid resides in the muscles. It is garbage which has to go.

Think of a soccer stadium after the game.
The players and the crowd are gone.
But there is still work going on: the garbage removal, taking care of what the crowd left.

The circulation of blood is the body's garbage removal.
And after the performance the body needs to know when to pack in: not until the garbage is out of the system.
So: cool down slowly!

Fight muscle ache with sour cherry juice.

For a long time lactic acid was held responsible for muscle ache.
Modern research apparently shows that muscle ache is caused by fissures on a microscopic scale in the muscle tissue.

Heat helps because it reduces pain and stimulates the blood circulation which speeds up the healing process.

A 'wonder medicine' seems to be pure sour cherry juice which gets rid of muscle ache while replenishing minerals and body fluid.

Drink 1/2 litre after the performance.
But take care that it is pure juice, not a blend or something artificial.


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Aktualisiert: 21.01.2010