ACTIVE RECOVERY: Why keeping active on your rest days from training will benefit you on your fitness journey
For me exercise is my therapy. For the time I am at the gym, there is nothing but me, the weights & a stroll on the treadmill. Everything else gets forgotten, I get real personal downtime.
However, there are days that life gets in the way, or you are aware you need to take some time to rest.
It is tempting to just workout everyday, hell, sometimes we feel guilty if we don’t.
Truth is, the body needs time to recuperate and make the adaptations that will result in big changes to your body. It does this ‘at rest’.
Now, I am not saying simply not to move for a day of two, yes we need those sofa days too, but on the whole, I would suggest you take ACTIVE RECOVERY days as an assist if you will, to your main training schedule.
Active recovery helps mobilize the joints, which need to move through their range of motion to be lubricated. It also gets the blood flowing through your muscles, which brings them nutrients to build new muscle as well as helps carry away waste products.
You want that.
On active recovery day, you can undertake training at a much lower intensity to allow the body’s recovery and, why not, a welcome mental break without guilt from training.
Active recovery could mean:
- A 30-45 minute low intensity class at your gym
- A mini circuit of bodyweight exercises performed 40 sec on 20 off for 3 rounds
- A walk in your favourite park to get those steps in
- A swimming session at your local pool
- Going for a hike
- Yoga, pilates meditation class to aid flexibility
- A super light resistance session at 30% of your heaviest weight
- A steady pace run around the block
- A cycle out on your favourite route
- Self-myofascial release aka foam rolling, tennis ball or massage stick exercises to massage those muscles you have been working so hard. It can be incredibly beneficial not only for recovery, but to increase range of motion, reduce delayed onset muscle soreness
On active recovery days, it is also important to keep on your nutrition just as you would any other day. Eat your calories and if you end up going over them, don’t freak out. Just simply, recalibrate the day after (For instance your allowance is 1700, you end up eating one day at 1900, next day back to 1700- always look at your calories as a whole and a weekly target, and plan around your schedule).
On sofa days? Still try to get 15000 steps in nevertheless and stick to your calories too.
It is not an excuse to over indulge, it’s another day on your journey in which you choose to be still and enjoy a well earned rest. Be mindful of consuming too many calories, if you have no intention of leaving the house (And lol, we all have been there, no harm no fowl).