You’re getting back into your regular fitness routine, and it feels great. At the same time, many of us lost a little strength or endurance over the first half of the year. You may be waking up sore or experiencing muscle fatigue more often than you’re used to. If that resonates with you, then active recovery may be the simplest and most transformative fitness tool at your disposal.
After a tough workout, you need to rest and recover. Low-intensity movement is extremely effective for increasing blood flow to painful areas and helps release the build-up of lactic acid, which creates those sore muscles. When you’re really fatigued, you may find it more enjoyable to focus on a separate muscle group. Walking, swimming, yoga, cycling, or using equipment, like an elliptical, are some of our favorite active recovery workouts.
With that in mind, it is very important to find the right level of intensity. Your heart rate does need to climb above resting to achieve the benefits. However, active recovery should not deplete you; this sort of movement should leave you feeling refreshed. You know you nailed active recovery when you feel your mood and energy levels lift. We recommend these workouts to last between 20 minutes to an hour, so pace yourself appropriately to maintain that easy movement.
The key to seeing results is consistency, and choosing active recovery keeps you in your routine. Many people find that taking a rest day throws them off. One day suddenly turns into three or four. Physically, most of us can handle low-intensity movement nearly every day. Our best tip is never to plan a full rest day, but let full rest days happen when you need them, which you will for your schedule and your mental health.
Are you inspired to include active recovery in your own routine? We think you’ll like the results that can come from such a small shift.