Our bodies need time to recover and rebuild itself to be stronger. Days away from the heavy weights and intense exercise are essential to that process. And getting a good night’s sleep on the regular is a game changer. But there are other ways to enhance the recovery process without simply lounging on the couch for 24-48 hours straight. It’s called active recovery. Below are a some ways you can start doing it too.
Whether it’s city, suburban, beach, or woods—sometimes I just like to walk and walk and walk. And if I’ve got some place to be, or something to do, and if it’s walkable in a reasonable amount of time, I’m walking. I encourage you to get out there and walk. And you’d be amazed at how much fitness trackers actually push you to do more. You’ve gotta move and keep the blood flowing.
I’m a waterman. Have been my entire life. I have the ear exostosis to prove it. (Google it). If I can be in the water I am. Sometimes for several hours at a clip. Imagine just how many calories 4 hours of paddling is. Too cold out? That’s what wetsuits are for. If you don’t like by a beach, or pool, or care to do any paddling—do the walking thing, or get on a bike. This is more lower-impact stuff that allows you to recovery keeping the blood circulating.
It’s debatable on whether this is a “workout” or not. But, if I’m around the house (most likely on the computer working) I’m also doing little things like push ups, pull ups, plank variations, squats, and some light stuff with bands. Usually 5-10 reps of each exercises for 3-5 rounds. Casually rest. Maybe it’s 1 minute. Maybe it’s 5. Stuck with an email? Or jammed up on something? Bang out a couple reps of something. (I’ve found this also helps with the creative juices)
Watching TV, a few minutes before bed, a few minutes after waking up—those are all prime times for foam rolling, yoga, and stretches. There’s no magic formula or prescription, I just make sure to do 5, 10, or 15 minutes of as much as I can do to loosen up and relax. Far too many people ignore this aspect of training, especially after a regular workout, why not leverage your rest days?
For a full listing of equipment to keep around the house for working out and active recovery, check out this piece on the at-home fitness essentials and an easy-to-follow workout plan.