Active Recovery Workouts: What to Do on Rest Days
As we approach National Stretching Day on December 11, now is a great time to remind ourselves that physical wellness doesn’t depend on just being active, but also on periods of rest. Rest doesn’t mean complete inactivity, however, as experts agree active recovery day workouts can be beneficial to maintaining your progress and keeping up a healthy lifestyle.
Today, we’re looking at active recovery workouts you can do on rest days to keep your body in tune and in top shape! Let’s maximize your fitness routine in a healthy way while respecting the body’s need to rest and recharge.
Benefits of Active Recovery Day Workout Routines
Before we dive into different active recovery workout ideas, let’s talk about why you should be doing them. It’s not an exercise in vanity to show off how much you work out each week or how active you are, but a targeted method for helping the body recover more quickly and continue its forward progress. Some benefits include:
- Helping you keep up your healthy habits
- Reducing lactic acid buildup in muscles
- Improving blood circulation
- Eliminating toxins from the body
- Keeping muscles loose and flexible
- Reducing soreness or strain
Clearly, an active recovery day workout makes a difference. We can’t push our bodies to the limits every day without allocating time for them to recover. These workouts maximize the effectiveness of your fitness routine and keep your body in top condition.
Active Recovery Workouts for Rest Days
When we think about physical fitness, we tend to focus on gym activities, home full body workouts, or other routines like playing sports. That’s only half the equation! What you do on your rest days can be just as important to maintain your fitness as post workout recovery routines to help with how the body heals itself.
Active recovery workouts include physical and mental elements. After all, you can’t expect your body to perform the way you want if your mind isn’t in sync. Some of our favorite active recovery day workout ideas include:
- Active stretching exercises
- Using a foam roller
- Going swimming
- Using a zero gravity chair
- Taking a walk or jogging
- Practicing yoga or tai chi
Active Stretching Exercises
We’re kicking off our list of active workouts with active stretching exercises. Active stretching is meant to enhance flexibility and keep your muscles loose. These stretches use your body to create resistance. Simply flex a muscle opposite to the muscle you want to stretch. Try to hold the position for 10 to 15 seconds for optimal effectiveness.
Not only do active stretches help on recovery days, but they may be key to preventing sports injuries or other accidents from physical activities, as well.
Using a Foam Roller
Next up on our list of active recovery workout ideas is using a foam roller. Foam rollers help provide what’s known as self-myofascial release (SMR), involving massaging the connective tissues surrounding the muscles and bones for added flexibility and mobility. It may also help increase your range of motion and prevent unpleasant physical ailments like Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS).
Going Swimming on Recovery Days
Just because it’s a rest day doesn’t mean you have to be completely sedentary. In fact, keeping up movement in a purposeful, mindful way is ideal. This brings us to swimming as an active recovery day workout. Swimming is a low-impact exercise that relaxes your joints and stretches your muscles to keep them loose. Some added benefits of being in the water include increasing blood circulation and reducing stress on the heart.
Using a Zero Gravity Chair to Rest and Recharge
Even though this is a list of active recovery workout ideas, it doesn’t mean each one has to be physically taxing. The potential health benefits of zero gravity chairs make them another perfect tool to pair with your active recovery workouts. Not only are there plenty of chair exercises you can do for lower impact ton the body on your rest day, but the zero gravity position is designed to increase blood circulation, speed up recovery, and have you feeling your best.
Bonus features of luxury zero gravity recliners also make a huge difference. For example, heated zero gravity recliners keep your muscles loose while they recover. Massage features bring some of the benefits of massage right to your home at the touch of a button! The best zero gravity chairs offer these in combination, giving you the perfect spot for an active recovery day workout followed by enhanced rest.
Extra Perk: Active recovery workouts should protect your body as well as your mind. Zero gravity chairs are great for assisting stress management and practicing mindfulness activities to center your mind and focus on recovery.
Taking a Walk or Going for a Jog
Taking a walk or jogging are active recovery workout ideas that make the most of your rest day, as well. The key here is elevating the heart rate for some cardio. Walking is the better option to keep it a true rest day versus a lighter day, but either is just fine! Each helps maintain and improve cardio endurance while you recover from your more active days. It’s an easy way to stay healthy without pushing yourself beyond your limits.
Practicing Yoga or Tai Chi
Last, but not least, on our list of active recovery workouts come yoga and tai chi. These are two movement-based exercises that are low-impact and perfect for optimizing rest days. Each one engages the mind and body for a total wellness experience. They also help increase mobility and flexibility, allowing your body to recover fully while protecting (and potentially increasing) your range of motion.
As you can see, there are plenty of active recovery workouts you can integrate into your rest days. Just because you’re taking a rest, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get up and move. Be mindful to respect your limits, however, as the body needs time to recover and recharge before being able to perform at peak levels. Give these active recovery day workout options a shot and see which works best for you!
Zero gravity chairs are great for athletic recovery, but they also provide a myriad of benefits for people of all ages. Check out the Svago Lite Zero Gravity Recliner and see where relaxation, self-care, and quicker recovery come together.