The benefits of active recovery

If you want to achieve your goals and be your best, how you recover from exercise is just as important as what you do. Active recovery is key to helping your body recover from hard workouts.

It is more beneficial to add low-impact, low intensity exercise to your rest days than inactivity, regardless of how hard you worked in your last workout.

Continue reading to find out more about active recovery and how often it should be done. What activities count?

What is Active Recovery?

Male runner stretching leg outside

Active recovery can be described as low-intensity exercise or low-key movement, which is different from a “workout”.

Christine VanDoren CPT, says that active recovery involves non-strenuous activities such as walking and active stretching. Yoga and light cycling are all good options.

This is done to increase blood flow, warm the muscles, and burn a few calories. It also reduces stress levels. She explains that it also reduces blood lactate, which can build up during strenuous exercise and cause muscle fatigue.

Active recovery is a way to avoid overtraining and help with recovery, especially if there are intense training sessions.

Jordan August, PT and DPT, CSCS, says that active recovery can improve delayed-onset muscle soreness. This occurs 24-72 hours after exercise.

Your rest days can be used for active recovery, or as a cooldown after a hard workout.

A 2019 study found that even a mere 6-10 minute active recovery period after or between workouts can have “consistently positive results on performance.”

Benefits of Active Recover

Woman using foam roller on upper thigh

This is what you can expect when active recovery becomes a cornerstone in your workout recovery program:

1. Keeps muscles flexible

Active recovery can be achieved through active stretching or foam-rolling. These activities can improve mobility and flexibility.

2. Reduces muscle soreness

Exercising can cause muscle micro-tears and inflammation, which can make you feel sore. To grow larger and more powerful, your body must repair these tears. Active recovery can reduce muscle soreness.

August explains that incorporating movement into a workout after a hard workout can be one of the best ways to reduce muscle soreness. This is achieved by increasing blood flow to the muscle tissue and eliminating metabolic waste. It can reduce pain.

3. Blood flow increases

August says that constant movement at lower intensities will speed up your body’s recovery by stimulating blood flow and increasing heart rate. It also prepares your body for the next training session.

4. This will help you keep your exercise regimen on track

Active recovery allows your body to breathe, which helps you keep your momentum and not burn out while you are performing.

It allows you to be consistent and not overdo it, which can lead to injuries.

Beachbody Supertrainer and co-creator of CORE DE FORCE Jericho McMatthews has included active recovery in her Morning Meltdown 100 Program.

These 100 workouts offer a range of training methods, including resistance, mobility, HIIT and active recovery.

Jericho guides you through yoga-inspired mobility and flexibility moves to help maximize recovery. These sessions will help you relax and soothe your body.

Ctive vs. Passive Recovery

Man walking on nature trail

Passive recovery, on the other hand, is total relaxation. Active recovery can be any low-intensity activity you do to recover from hard-core training.

Imagine you ran a 5k today. Walking or riding a bike would be an active recovery.

Passive recovery would include laying on the couch and binge watching your favorite show.

According to American Council on Exercise sponsored studies, active recovery is more effective than its passive counterpart in endurance and power.

At:Active recovery was superior to:

Clearing metabolic waste from the blood after exercise, thereby boosting endurance-related performance.Preserving peak power output and average power, helping to maintain power-related performance.

You should also eliminate all rest days from your muscle recovery program.

August says that passive recovery or total sleep would be a good option if your sleep, nutrition or stress levels are low.

If you are recovering from an injury, it is the best choice.

If you don’t have the option, choose active recovery whenever possible.

Exercises and Workouts for ctive Recovery

Active recovery shouldn’t be considered a “workout.”

You’ve reached the sweet spot if you feel warm and can still carry on a conversation. You need to reduce your sweating or get out of breath if you feel like you are constantly getting hot.

Keep an eye on your heart rate. This is not about burning calories or reaching other goals.

VanDoren suggests, “Try going on an adventure or following along with yoga videos.”

Active recovery is better than total rest days if you are not dealing with an illness or injury.

You can get more energy from a short walk, yoga or bike ride, and you’ll feel less sore tomorrow.

The Beachbody Blog: The Benefits of Active Recover

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