After several days of intense workouts your body needs to recover and heal.
These days of Rest and Recovery should be conscious choices, as well as the different ways that you can accomplish this recovery process.
The terms Rest and Recovery are often used interchangeably in reference to exercise, but they are each needed to accomplish different parts of the recovery process, providing the body adequate time to replace and rebuild what’s been lost.
A Rest day is a time that provides you with physical and mental recharging.
A Recovery day is a time to provide your body a solid base by improving conditioning and performing corrective exercises.
Sleep – who doesn’t want more sleep?
“You place more emphasis on sleep during rest days,” says Beachbody’s Fitness and Nutrition Content Manager Trevor Thieme. “It’s such an important part of the recovery process because it helps muscles repair, recover, and grow stronger.” To that end, our experts recommend getting more than seven hours of shut-eye per night.
“You don’t need to be a couch potato on your rest days,” says Thieme. “You can still do your daily activities, such as running errands, but you should avoid performing vigorous activity or exercise that gets the blood pumping.”
Then there are “active recovery” days. On these days, Thieme explains, “you remain active, but use less intensity than you would during a regular workout. If you’re a runner training for a 10K, an active recovery day might involve cross-training, a bike ride, or running at a less intense, conversational pace. You’re not looking to directly enhance strength, power, or athleticism; instead, active recovery will indirectly promote all of those things by getting blood flowing to muscles to enhance and accelerate the recovery process.”
Get Back to Basics!
Get in some aerobic conditioning by using a treadmill or take up an activity outside of the gym. Any outdoor physical activity will provide you with basic conditioning that will allow you to maintain and improve your overall physical condition.
Two activities that help you on both rest days and active recovery days are dynamic (moving) stretches and foam rolling.
Dynamic or active stretches are typically done pre-workout and may include butt kicks, walking lunges, shoulder circles, arm swings, shin taps. All movements should be completed with low intensity.
Foam rolling helps release tension in muscle and connective tissue, reducing muscle soreness. A 2015 study published in the Journal of Athletic Training concluded that foam rolling produced a medium to large benefit for reducing the effects of delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) compared to subjects who did not roll.
When your body’s begging for rest or recovery, provide it with what it needs to heal, rebuild and recharge.