If you’ve been following our weekly blogs, you’ve probably seen a few of our Thursday Recovery blogs and you know how important recovery is for muscle growth, injury prevention, and overall health.
Sometimes, resting is welcome with open arms. After a tough week, sometimes nothing sounds better than sitting on the couch and getting some well-deserved rest and relaxation.
However, sometimes resting is difficult. Sometimes it’s hard to take yourself out of that go mentality. If you’re in that Energizer bunny mood, sitting on the couch is not an option.
Enter the weekend workout. Taking time to recover does not have to mean doing anything. You can still be active while in recovery mode. This is called active recovery.
The key to active recovery is to pick the right exercises, the right tempo, and the right amount of time. These active recovery methods are great for people who have a hard time sitting still or want a little extra movement on their off days.
Here are a few ways you can practice active recovery:
1) Going for a walk
Walking is one of the best things you can do for your health in general. Surprisingly, walking burns a lot of calories, which will help you maintain or lose weight depending on your goals. It also strengthens your heart, boosts energy, and improves your mood.
For recovery, walking can increase your blood flow. This will promote better circulation which will in turn reduce stiffness and soreness. Just a few minutes the day after a tough workout can do a world of good. If you’re into running or looking for more of a challenge, you could also try a light jog.
2) Practicing yoga
Yoga is fantastic for recovery, as we’ve covered in past blogs. Yoga can be a great form of active recovery. It’s low impact, it’s mentally delightful, and it feels good physically.
Yoga helps to stretch out sore muscles and increase your flexibility, which could prevent soreness and injury in the future. Yoga can reduce inflammation, which is a natural – though uncomfortable – part of muscle growth. It also promotes quality sleep.
Swimming, like running and yoga, is great for your health in general. Swimming has a lot of the benefits of other forms of cardiovascular exercise, such as strengthening your heart, improving endurance, and calorie burning.
Unlike other forms of cardio like running, swimming is a low impact on your joints. There’s no pounding motion as you glide through the water.
If you don’t have access to a pool, biking is another great low-impact exercise to do on your off days. It burns a lot of calories, and you can go a lot farther on a bike than on foot. It has all the benefits of cardio.
Though we like to bike outdoors, stationary bikes are also great exercise. Try mixing up your speed, finding hills, and experimenting with different gears for an added challenge.
5) Playing a sport
Playing a sport is a fantastic active recovery method. If you’ve been doing a lot of work lifting weights, you may experience some burnout. Playing sports is a great way to have some fun as you recover.
Playing some basketball, volleyball, soccer, or any other sport you like has all of the benefits of cardiovascular exercise with the added benefit of fun, competition, and skill. At the end of the day, your fitness journey should be fun. Do things that you like on your off days to stay active.
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