Hard work in the gym pays off, but don’t forget about your rest days! Allowing your body to adequately recover between bouts of intense exercise is vital for muscle strengthening, muscle hypertrophy, and improvements in aerobic conditioning. Just because it is your day off from your scheduled training does not mean you can’t exercise. Quite the contrary! Active recovery sessions are designed to facilitate the systems responsible for repairing your body and prepare you for your next workout. Check out the list below to discover the top ways to maximize your active recovery days.
1. Long, Slow Aerobic Conditioning
Walk, bike, swim, run/jog, elliptical, row, ski erg, jump rope
The key here is to maintain a steady heart rate over 20-45 minutes of movement. This should not be strenuous as you are “recovering.” By increasing your heart rate at a moderate level over an extended period you are increasing blood flow to areas that need repair while keeping your exercise strain low.
Active recovery days are a perfect time to work on areas of limited mobility. Shoot for 10-15 minutes of full body mobility. For more effectiveness perform after your long and slow aerobic conditioning. More blood flow = more tissue extensibility!
3. Passive modalities
Finish up your recovery day with some of the options below. The list below encompasses devices and techniques that facilitate your body’s natural means of replenishment and repair. But remember, EARN YOUR RECOVERY. If you are deficient in the areas of progressive exercise, sleep, and nutrition the effects of recovery modalities may be limited.
i. Compression Devices
ii. Massage guns/devices
iii. Whole Body Cryotherapy/Cold Plunges
iv. Hot Tubs/Sauna
v. Red Light Therapy
At Vital Force Physio we promote many modes of recovery in combination with exercise to rebuild athletes and active humans. If you are an active individual struggling with pain or injury that is keeping you out of the gym or competition contact us today and start your journey to outperform your pain!
Physical Therapy for the Athlete in All of Us,
Dr. Bryan Vranic, PT, DPT, CSCS, CF-L1
Owner, Physical Therapist, Vital Force Physio