active recovery exercise

A Little R&R Never Hurt Anybody!

Friday, September 12, 2014 Brittany Lohmann

Oftentimes there is a lot of focus on finding that motivation to workout. We read magazines, pin inspirational quotes to our Pinterest boards, put together playlists all to help keep us on track. While we amp ourselves up to get to the gym on a regular basis and are keeping our diets in check there is one aspect of training that oftentimes is neglected – resting. Yes, I said it. While maintaining an active lifestyle it is equally important to focus on exercise, diet, and rest in order to achieve the results you are looking for.
According to the Mayo Clinic it is important to strength train twice a week and then complete some kind of aerobic exercise, ranging from 150 minutes (for moderate aerobic activities) to 75 minutes (for vigorous aerobic activities). The prescription varies among individuals and their goals. Beginners may follow strive merely for 20 minutes of aerobic activity per day while more serious individuals may exercise for an hour or more several days per week. Regardless of where you are at in your training, the rest day is not to be neglected, and there are several different ways to love your rest day.
Active Recovery
For some though the idea of "resting" (i.e. not doing any kind of a exercise of any kind) makes them feel twitchy. As a result, these individuals may want to take part in "active recovery". This type of recovery refers to performing activities, such as rowing, biking, jogging, swimming, etc., at a 60-70% level.
Active recovery should not be overly taxing. The idea is invigorate and restore the body rather than leave it feeling tired and depleted; instead, the movements should leave the athlete feeling more alert, primed, and better prepared for tomorrow's training.
Yoga & Mobility
A restorative yoga class is another form of active recovery and is another good activity for those who dread the idea of taking a full day's rest. For example, Yin yoga is a good choice because it forces the athlete to perform poses for extended periods of time in order to increase flexibility and improve blood circulation around the joints. In addition, the practice seeks to compliment exercise programs (not just other yoga practices) and restore balance.
If a formal yoga class is not your thing, try trigger point therapy. Using a foam roller and/or other trigger point tools, such as Trigger Point’s FootBaller, QuadBaller, Massage Block, etc. to increase your mobility and flexibility. Such tools can be found online through sites such as Trigger Point, Rogue Fitness, and a variety of other sites.
Body Work & Inflammation Control
Aside from performing mobility on your own, another option to work those muscles may be to go see a massage therapist, an acupuncturist, or see a physical therapist to perform Active Release Techniques [ART]. Another good way to release toxins in the body and to minimize inflammation levels is to try either a mustard seed, salt, or ice bath.
Mental Restoration
What I am referring to here is mental restoration. For each athlete recovering mentally from your training is necessary in order to keep motivated as well as avoid burnout. How you recover mentally though is largely up to you: whether it's reading a book, mediating, spending time outside, getting out with friends or family, writing, cooking, or simply just preparing for the next day, do something that allows your brain to take a "time-out" so that it can prepare for what is to come tomorrow.
It is sometimes difficult to take a rest day: you don't want to miss a particular workout, your lifting buddy is heckling you to come in, and/or you're excited about your progress and want to continue making strides. But sometimes forcing that rest day upon yourself will give you a much needed break and allow you to come back stronger and more focused, which will only help you in the long run.
Brittany Lohmann - Health & Fitness Blogger

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