A cool down exercise after a vigorous workout, such as a dance class, is good common sense.
If you are serious about becoming a good dancer, you'll want to take care of yourself.
However, there are many dance classes which, although they will warm you up thoroughly before you start dancing, might not be so enthusiastic about your cool down once the class is over.
Sometimes, this is understandable.
Dance teachers want to cram in as much actual dancing as they can into your session.
And sometimes, it's the fault of the dancing itself...
If you've just spent an hour learning a whole routine, step by step, move by move and towards the end of your lesson you can finally dance the whole routine, all the way through, to music, without skipping a beat, it's just infectious.
You want to dance that routine over and over, and before you know it, your time is up and the next class is itching to get into the studio.
It's a fabulous feeling, to get caught up in your dancing - it's what it's all about.
But, it's not quite so fabulous for your body, which has just been put through a lot of exercise.
yes, you'll leave your class with a massive smile. But tomorrow, or
the day after, you might not feel so perky as your sore muscles feel
stiff and tired.
And so we've provided a short but effective cool down here that you can memorize.
If your class doesn't include a cood down then you can stretch out in the changing rooms afterwards before you leave the studio.
You might think that a cool down exercise is something that is taught to athletes, dancers and sports enthusiasts as it's based on solid scientific research.
It could surprise you to know that there is a debate
among dancers, athletes, doctors and physiotherapists as to whether a
cool down exercise has any proven physical benefits. And opinion is
You won't have to look too far before you find an expert who is happy to shout from the roof-tops that there is 'no point' in the cool down and its benefits are zero.
All we can tell you is that, if any of us do a really vigorous dance class (or we try some unfamiliar moves that we're not used to) and don’t stretch out afterwards, for the next day or two it hurts… That's proof enough for us.
You'll have to decide whether you need a cool down or not if one isn't provided at the end of your class.
If it isn't and you feel cramped
and stiff the day after, next time you take the class perhaps you could
try these simple exercises to ensure that your muscles are nicely stretched after all that hard work.
You can choose between the very basic, classic cool down stretch in the photos below, or follow along with the cool down that our teacher Alexx provides at the end of her Modern Dance Workout Class...
Keeping your back heel on the floor, feel this stretch in the back of your leg.
Keep your knees together on this one and feel the stretch in the front of your thigh.
Stretch out your back and the backs of your legs by keeping them perfectly flat and straight.
A great stretch for your waist and the inside of your thighs.
The best stretch for those thighs.
Now you've taken good care of your body, relax and read our in-depth guide to learning Modern dance...