With exercise, “more is better” is usually the standard approach. While the majority of people don’t spend all of their time working out, they know that an extra day of exercise probably won’t result in anything negative. The benefits of working out are plentiful, from a release of endorphins and healthy weight loss, to better physical and mental health. But active recovery is necessary, especially for people who workout consistently. The body needs time to rest and recuperate in order to function properly and reap the benefits of movement.
Active recovery, also known as active rest, is a type of workout that’s low intensity. It’s the opposite of passive recovery and includes activities like yoga, swimming and even walking. Active recovery is known for eliminating toxins in the body, adding more flexibility to your muscles, reducing soreness and improving blood flow.
The reason why active recovery is so highly recommended by health experts is because it makes for a great complement to your other workouts; by increasing blood flow, you give your muscles and tissue an extra boost that’ll speed up your recovery process and decrease pain and cramps.
Active recovery also helps flush out waste products that build up when you work out, like lactic acid and hydrogen ions, which play a part in muscle soreness and fatigue and can be very painful to cope with.
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While you can never go wrong with yoga or going for a walk, there are dozens of novel activities you can engage in for active recovery, like Tai Chi, resistance training, rollerblading and hiking. These exercises can be done with a different mentality than the one you usually have when working out, one that encourages introspection, listening to music or having engaging conversations with other people.
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When people take a rest day, they usually spend it on the couch. While this is good, especially if your body needs and asks for it, creating the space for active recovery will provide you with tons of physical benefits. It’ll also grant you a space for introspection, which may result in a therapeutic and relaxing experience that can significantly impact your life for the better.