What Is Active Recovery?
The body can become injury-prone if not offered proper opportunities for rest and recovery.
Courtney Cornwall, Outrun Gravity
Exercising is a vital aspect of preventive health, allowing us to strengthen our bodies to function optimally throughout our everyday lives.
While maintaining a regular workout routine is beneficial for achieving long-term results, the body can become injury-prone if not offered proper opportunities for rest and recovery.
Recovery after a workout can mean something different depending on the individual, but one popular version, known as active recovery, might be the best way to allow your body to rejuvenate and return to its natural state as it keeps your blood flowing to your muscles.
Passive vs. Active Recovery
Generally speaking, there are two main forms of recovery: passive and active recovery. Passive recovery is fully taking a break from movement, allowing yourself to rest while sitting, laying down, or remaining inactive. If someone is suffering from an injury, passive recovery is vital to prevent further damage from occurring and allow their body to heal. On the other hand, for relief of general muscle soreness from working out, practicing active recovery can be much more beneficial. Active recovery involves doing a low-intensity activity that maintains strategic movement that is low-impact but encourages mobility and flexibility.
Strategies for Active Recovery
Taking a day off from working out may not seem like an option for exercise junkies who love to schedule a workout into their daily routine, so active recovery can be an effective alternative. Instead of being still and fully resting, active recovery allows you to keep your body in motion to support the strength and maintenance of your muscles. There are several types of active recovery, but here are some examples:
Yoga may be the best form of active recovery one can try, as it encourages dynamic stretching that lets the muscles recover and increases flexibility, which in the long run can prevent further injury. Yoga also reduces inflammation in the body as well as benefits your mental health by helping you stay grounded in the present moment.
Walking at a leisurely pace is an excellent method to keep your body moving on your off day. Regular movement prevents the muscles and joints from locking up, so by going on regular walks, you can improve your mobility, improve circulation, and decrease muscle soreness.
Swimming is another exercise that can produce wondrous effects when helping your body recover after strenuous workouts. Swimming is easy on your muscles and joints while still allowing you to engage your whole body, making this low-impact exercise a classic choice.
As long as you maintain a leisurely pace, cycling is an excellent form of active recovery to maintain mobility without introducing additional stress. Cycling can be easier on the joints than walking, so if you’re looking for a new method of active recovery to try that is low-impact, give cycling a try!
If you choose to engage in active recovery, remember: this is not the time and place to push yourself to the point of exhaustion. Instead, challenge yourself to engage in slow mindful movements, focusing on your form and mobility. Implementing active recovery into your regular workout routines will not only improve your performance during exercise but will help you perform at your best throughout all areas of your life. If you are looking for more tips to optimize your physical health and establish an active lifestyle that is free of injury, check out the Outrun Gravity website.