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Safe warm up and cool down

It is important that you warm up before a class or playing your instrument, so that you don't cause damage to your body.

An effective warm up should:

  • prepare you mentally and physically for the task
  • permit freer movement of the muscles and joints
  • increase heart rate and blood circulation
  • improve effective muscle actions
  • reduce the risk of injury
  • increase coordination and proprioception

Equally important is cooling down after class/practice. 

An effective cool down should:

  • gradually slow your movements to bring your breathing and heart rate down to your resting rate
  • begin to cool the body temperature
  • stretch the muscles to eliminate lactic acid build-up
  • begin to rest the mind, increase in activity releases adrenaline and endorphins, which can lead to restlessness

Danger signals

Signs of injury include:

  • pain and/or a burning sensation
  • fatigue or heaviness
  • weakness
  • impaired dexterity
  • tingling, numbness
  • clumsiness
  • stiffness
  • involuntary movement, impaired circulation
  • difficulty with normal daily activities

This can affect:

  • bones
  • joints
  • ligaments
  • tendons
  • muscles

Injury is caused by many factors, such as:

  • overuse
  • poor posture and/or technique
  • excessive force
  • stress  
  • body size
  • condition of muscles
  • muscle imbalance (for example a violinist's left arm will move up and down the fingerboard but never left and right, whereas their right arm will constantly move left to right but never up and down)