Warming Up to Bellydance

It’s accepted wisdom that it’s important to ‘warm-up’ your body before doing prolonged physical activity. It’s especially important if that activity is strenuous and engages a lot of different parts of your body.

There’re many techniques that can be used in warming up, including stretching and other moves that increase your circulation, breathing, and heart rate. I’m with the school of thought that believes in not over-doing a warm-up, especially with stretching that is too extreme for cold muscles and joints. I like to save the deep stretches for the cool-down at the end of a workout, when the body is already warmed up.

My favorite warm-ups for any activity are (surprise, surprise) simple belly dance moves. Rolling hip and ribcage circles, undulations of the arms and torso, and traveling steps, all serve the requirements needed to circulate energy to every part of the body and to get the pulse rate up.

Circular belly dance moves are really effective because they engage the muscles and joints in a full range of motion, and fast staccato moves increase respiration. Using my favorite music also helps me relax and focus on my warm-up more fully.

When I teach a belly dance class, I don’t have to lose valuable class time by using warm-up moves that have no relation to bellydancing. Unless it’s a class for absolute beginners, I can start the class by going right into basic belly dance techniques. That way the students get both a fun warm-up and at the same time, a review of the all important core foundation belly dance moves.

So, no matter what physical activity I want to do, a few minutes of basic bellydancing gets me unkinked and ready to safely push myself harder and further with my workouts. I’m not alone – millions of women have also warmed up to the idea that bellydance moves are a hot addition to their fitness routines.

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