‘Rest’ vs ‘Active Recovery’

Published by HealthSource Solutions on

this young man asleep and enjoying the comfort of the bed

Rest is an important part of your workout regimen. When you work your muscles to fatigue, you create tiny tears in them that need rest and recovery to repair and build strength. However, rest days do not need to be filled with inactivity. Light activity on off days, also known as active recovery, can be very beneficial for allowing your muscles to repair and may also help reduce muscle soreness.

The goal is not to burn calories or make strength gains, but to increase blood flow, which provides nutrients to your muscles and tissues that aid in repair and recovery. If you are someone who enjoys intense workouts every day or maybe you are someone who does not like taking a day off from working out, active recovery workouts would be very beneficial for you. These workouts are typically performed once or twice a week, and they are low intensity with low-volume (shorter duration or fewer exercises).  Low-intensity active recovery workouts for an off day include walking, swimming, cycling, light strength training or yoga. Since these workouts are done with lighter resistance and less speed, an added benefit is being able to focus on form and technique, thus improving overall performance.

Make sure to give your body time to recover from your workouts each week. The form of recovery you choose will depend on the type and intensity of your workouts throughout the week. Listen to your body. You may feel energized enough to do an active recovery workout or your body may need a day of complete rest.