Fitness Friday: Active Recovery

Active Recovery

2LT Ford

Does the term “active recovery” seem to make little sense to you?  We all know that recovery usually means to take a break from something.  In this case, active recovery is taking an active break from your normal rutine.  What this means is that you would do a light activity day in place of your normal high intensity training day.  I know what you are thinking, how can I achieve gains taking days off?  Many people can yield the benefits of exercise every day.  Others may need to have a nice active recovery day to heal and then get back at it.

There have been studies that show the effectiveness of an active recovery day to promote healing and thus better gains in your training.  There are also studies that show using your active recovery day to focus on improving technique and form can reduce injuries in your routine.  One final benefit of an active recovery day is that when you change your intensity level from high to a moderate/low level, there is a release of endorphins and other neurotransmitters that are responsible for better general cognitive skill and mood.  It tern, this helps to boost your mood and people have reported having a better sense of well-being and just an overall happier or healthier mood.

Now that we have discussed what an active recovery day is and what some of the benefits are, I would like to give you a few options on how to implement it into your routine.  One option could be to do your same exercise routine but lower the weights and reps.  The theory here is that you are lowering the intensity thus recovering.  You are also able to work on the technique and form like mentioned earlier.  Another example is to replace your daily routine with a day of yoga.  Your joints will be put through a range of motion that is safe to move in.  You will also improve your flexibility and help those sore muscle recover.  One final example could be as simple as doing some yard work.  We all have things that need to be done around the house.  Normally our yard work would be at a lower intensity than while in the gym.  This is perfect for recovery and also getting those little yard tasks completed.

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