Active recovery is a term used to describe a period of time when you focus on light physical activity and rest, in order to allow your body to heal.
Healing from an intense period of training can take time, and active recovery helps to minimize the amount of time you need to spend resting.
This type of recovery is important because it helps to both minimize your downtime and to come back stronger than you were before.
Benefits of Active Recovery for Athletes & People with Active Lifestyles
The benefits of active recovery are manifold. First, it helps to improve blood flow and circulation, which can speed up the healing process.
It can also help to reduce muscle soreness and stiffness, allowing you to feel more comfortable and mobile. If you find that you’re sore after a particularly intense workout, it might be tempting to give it a rest and let your body recover on its own.
However, this isn’t always the best course of action.
In fact, many times it isn’t. Active recovery—moving around a little, or even a lot in some cases—can actually help you heal faster, and get back to your regular routine more quickly.
Of course, it’s important to listen to your body and know when you need to take a break. If you’re feeling particularly sore or fatigued, it might be a good idea to schedule a day or two of light activity.
This could involve taking a leisurely walk around the block, doing some gentle yoga or stretching, or even just spending some time lightly foam rolling.
Making the Most of Active Recovery
So, how can you best take advantage of active recovery?
There are a few things you can do during active recovery to help maximize its benefits.
First, focus on light activity such as walking or gentle stretching.
Second, make sure to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water or electrolyte-rich beverages.
Third, be sure to consult with a qualified coach and/or healthcare practitioner—both to get the most out of your active recovery, and to avoid further over-exertion or injury.
Here are a few tips on how to make the most of your active recovery:
- Get moving: It’s important to keep your body moving during active recovery, in order to increase blood flow and prevent stiffness.
- Focus on full range of motion: Be sure to focus on light exercises that allow you to achieve a full range of motion. This will help to lengthen and stretch your muscles, while promoting healing.
- Consult with qualified professionals: For best results with active recovery, be sure to consult with a qualified healthcare practitioner and/or S&C coach. They can help create a tailored plan that fits your needs and goals.
Active recovery is a great way to minimize downtime and maximize results. By following these tips, you can maximize the results of your active recovery and help keep your body healthy and strong.
Remember that active Recovery is a process—not a one time event. The key to successful active recovery is to listen to your body and give it what it needs. Sometimes that may mean a day of rest, and sometimes it may mean a light workout.
If you’re recovering from demanding activity, consult with qualified active recovery professionals to ensure that your rehabilitative activities match your individual capacity.
No matter what, the important thing is to keep moving—sometimes literally—on your journey to recovery.