What is Active Recovery?

Fitness

What is Active Recovery?

By The Sculpt Society

Why leisurely movement is a must + 3 low-key exercises to try.

It should come as no surprise that we love a spicy, sweaty workout—nothing makes us feel stronger, less stressed, and more empowered. But to avoid injury and help our bodies repair, rest days are just as important as hitting it hard. Enter active recovery, which is like pressing pause on hardcore workouts but continuing to add gentle movement to your routine. Opting for low-intensity exercise on your rest days boosts your body’s natural healing process…and helps you bounce back stronger for tomorrow’s dance cardio class. So, are you ready to take advantage of an active recovery day?

The Many Benefits of Active Recovery

First, an especially pressing question: Why even bother with active recovery when a cozy couch + Netflix binge kind of afternoon is more tempting? Well, besides making time for a little movement on your off days, active recovery has some serious perks after a strenuous workout and can be more beneficial than a complete rest day.

Reduced Muscle Soreness

Active recovery helps flush out toxins (including lactic acid and hydrogen ions) after an intense workout and banish any lingering sore muscles: key for post-workout muscle recovery. Say goodbye to that achy feeling…your legs are going to feel fresh tomorrow.

Improved Flexibility and Range of Motion

Integrating gentle, low-impact full-body exercise is a great recovery technique that can actually increase your mobility and overall athletic performance. Physical activity such as yoga or stretching, during active rest days can increase flexibility and help keep your joints in tip-top shape.

Less Burnout

Scheduling in a low-impact exercise routine is like taking a breather for your body + mind…think of it as a mini-vacation from your high-intensity fitness routine. Not only is it great for your mental health, but passive recovery is also a great way to avoid muscle fatigue and give your body the proper time to rest. Treat yourself to a coconut water when you’re done.

Enhanced Performance

Believe it or not, incorporating active recovery exercise into your fitness routine will actually boost your overall performance going forward. Putting too much stress on your muscles can lead to injuries down the road, high cortisol, and—say it with us—a well-rested body is a powerful body.

Our Favorite Active Recovery Exercises

Now that we’ve talked you into some easygoing movement on your off days, try one of our go-to active recovery workouts.

Walking, Hiking, or Light Jogging

A leisurely walk, not-too-long hike, or gentle jog can get your heart rate up without putting too much strain on your muscles. It's a great way to stay active while allowing your body to recover. Bonus: it also assists with naturally lowering cortisol!

Yoga

Flexibility, strength, and mindfulness—yoga is a triple threat. Choose a flow that focuses on stretching and relaxation to nourish both your body and mind. You’ll step off the mat feeling fully recharged (ahhh).

Cold Plunge

It’s more than just a dip in cold water; cold plunging is a refreshing natural high and a practice that can help you conquer your fears and tap into the euphoria of feeling really alive. The reduced muscle soreness and inflammation can have you back in the game faster than you can say "chill."

While there’s absolutely nothing wrong with taking a full day off from training, active recovery is a useful tool in your workout routine—and it’s key to maintaining a healthy, sustainable fitness practice that doesn’t feel too harsh or inflexible. Not only that, active recovery days are the perfect excuse to pencil in some fun new activities throughout the week! Make it a habit—your body (and mind) will thank you.

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What is Active Recovery?

What is Active Recovery?

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