For a dancer, gaining and maintaining flexibility is very important. Flexibility is not something that can be achieved easily or quickly and is something you must constantly work on to retain. The truth of the matter is everyone’s bodies are different; some people are very flexible naturally, while others have never been able to achieve a middle split. Regardless of how naturally flexible you are or are not, here are some tips on how to work on your flexibility:
- To achieve optimum flexibility, stretching outside of classes at home on your own time is crucial.
- The most important part of stretching is making sure you’re warm first. If you’re at home, try doing 25 jumping jacks just prior to stretching. When you’re warm, your muscles are the most receptive to stretching and improvement, so do it while you're still sweaty!
- Don’t push yourself too hard, you don’t want to injure yourself over-stretching too fast. Most stretches should not be held longer than 30-45 seconds.
- Yoga and Pilates workouts, in addition to dance classes, can help with core strength and flexibility.
- Winter is on its way! Remember that when the weather is colder, it takes the body longer to warm up. Take care of your body and be sure to allow extra stretching and exercise time to be in great shape and help prevent injuries.