Be it rigorous workout sessions at the gym or simple daily exercises that you undertake at your home or in the nearby park, some sort of physical activity is a must for all of us to stay healthy. Because, as the good old saying goes, we all know that ‘health is wealth’ and none of us actually want to risk this wealth of ours under any circumstances. But, our busy schedule might keep us from performing such exercises.
Now, we all know how harmful it can get for our health to not experience any exercise at all. High blood pressure, diabetes, cholesterol, heart diseases, obesity, and a ton of other diseases can attack you if you do not care to exercise regularly.
Active Recovery- Activities For Rest Days
That is because whatever we eat, there should be a means to burn it down and that means is exercise. So devoting at least 30 minutes to exercise from our jam-packed schedules is a must for us.
What Is Active Recovery?
Well, we know how important daily exercise is for us. But, what does active recovery mean and how is it helpful for our bodies? Active recovery is a procedure that is suitable for you after you have done a heavy workout.
For instance, let’s say you’ve been running around in the park for some time or lifting heavyweights in the gym. So post this strenuous workout, your body, at some point, is going to get tired. Your muscles become too tired to carry out any further tasks, and this is the point when you put down whatever activity you were doing and get some rest.
However, numerous researches on health and wellbeing state that undertaking an active recovery procedure than resting is a far better option for the ones who have undergone a rigorous workout regime. So, after a hard workout session, active recovery leads you to perform exercises that are simple and do not require as much strength.
Active recovery is a better option because when you do a hardcore workout, your muscles experience a buildup of lactic acid. This lactic acid builds up because when you are exercising, your muscles are unable to get enough oxygen. Hence, the lactic acid formation may lead to muscle fatigue which you can understand upon feeling a burning sensation in them.
That is when we usually stop our workouts and rest. But what happens in the resting time?
In this resting period, our muscles gain oxygen which slowly helps to remove the built-up lactic acid. But, this removal of lactic acid can be made faster with active recovery. Active recovery is the best way to remove built-up lactic acid because by lowering your pace of exercise, your muscles are still moving but using a lesser strength. So it helps to remove the lactic acid as well as keep your muscles active.
As mentioned before, active recovery is the best means of lactic acid removal from our muscles. However, the list of pros does not end right here. Check out below what more active recovery does for our bodies:
- Frees the muscle from lactic acid buildup
- Detoxifies the body
- Prevents soreness
- Improves blood flow
- Keeps muscles flexible
- Utilizes our energy in the best possible way
- Helps us keep up with a healthy workout routine
Some Examples Of Active Recovery
Active recovery, as we all know by now, requires us to use less effort than the actual workout. So, using half the effort that you use in your actual workout is adequate for your active recovery. Some examples of active recovery can be swimming, jogging, walking, cycling slowly, yoga, etc.
Any activity that you do after a strenuous workout where you put in half the amount of effort can be considered to be a process of active recovery. Even rolling a foam roller over your body can be said to be a form of active recovery.
All in all, all you need to do is make sure that your muscles are still under work. That is all you need to put your body in a state of active recovery.
Active Recovery Workout At Home
For those of you who have a very hectic schedule, exercising regularly can get really tough. Your tight schedule may not allow you time to go to gyms, parks, or lanes for carrying out your regular exercises. Therefore, workout sessions from home are a feasible option for you.
The best active recovery to undertake at home has to be yoga. Yoga has been a divine and relaxing practice since forever. It has helped millions across the globe to reduce stress, lose weight and benefit from tons of other health benefits. Thus, taking up an exercise such as yoga can not only be a means of active recovery for you but getting habituated to it may also help you stay healthy and rejuvenated from the core.
Besides yoga, tai chi can also be great means of active recovery at home. The stretches, slow kicks, and punches in the air can be great to remove muscle fatigue and remove lactic acid from it.
Moreover, if you have a swimming pool at home, then you can also take up swimming to be your active recovery activity. It can be highly relaxing during summers as the cool water will not only help to reduce the body heat that blankets you post the rigorous workout, but it also helps to reduce inflammation in the body.
Apart from these activities, you can always slowly jog around your house or backyard as a means of active recovery. Jogging or walking around has to be the easiest form of active recovery that anyone can ever undertake.
Active Recovery vs. Rest Day
Active recovery has been scientifically proven to be a better option to choose than to have rest days. Most of us are unable to exercise every day and keep a day or two spares between our workout days. On these spare days, we sit idle and relax and do absolutely nothing in terms of physical activity. But, taking up active recovery activities rather than just sitting idle is far better for your health.
That is because after you undergo a rigorous workout session, your muscles tend to get sore. So to get rid of this soreness, light and simple exercises are a must. Therefore, devoting some time to active recovery activities on your rest days is something you ought to do to improve your health.
Active Recovery vs. Passive Recovery
Passive recovery and rest go hand in hand. While active recovery requires you to undertake light workouts after hardcore exercises, passive recovery is doing nothing at all and simply allowing your body to rest. Now, active recovery is obviously the better option for your health.
However, if you are in pain or if you experience a muscle pull, then passive recovery is the only option to undertake. Before switching to active recovery, you must see a physician for getting rid of your pain and once you have finally recovered, then you can take up active recovery activities. For instances that are linked to some sort of injury or pain, rather big and small, passive recovery becomes a necessity.
However, a burning sensation in the muscles or feeling tired after the heavy exercise are signs of muscle fatigue and lactic acid buildup in the muscle. And to get rid of these, active recovery is the best since passive recovery, which is putting your body under complete rest, can slow down the removal of lactic acid and muscle restoration.
In short, if you are injured or in pain, only then you should undertake passive recovery. Otherwise, active recovery is the better option to go for.
In a nutshell, we all now know how active recovery speeds up muscle restoration by reducing muscle fatigue and stopping the buildup of lactic acid in it. This post-exercise regime only requires you to invest half or 50 percent of the total strength and energy that you used in your strenuous workout. The benefits active recovery brings with it help to improve your health in a number of ways.
While the improved blood circulation helps the heart to keep healthy and ensures the apt flow of oxygen and nutrients in the body, reduction in inflammation and soreness helps to relax your muscles and help you get rid of a variety of pains that you might otherwise face as a result of your rigorous workout session.
So, active recovery can be easily incorporated into your lives and daily exercises and is the best way to keep healthy and maintain a fit and active body filled with energy. It is better than just resting and doing nothing, so make sure to choose simple active recovery activities post your main workout from now on for a better exercise session and improved health.
You Can Also Read: The Best Abdominal Workouts Of All Time