Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Active Recovery/Rest

People often ask me why I do not take a day off from exercising.  For me it is habit. I feel odd if I do not work out, or do something active. Usually I have one day where I do an active rest day. This is a day where I do not have a video planned to do. Right now I am doing T25 which is a 6 day a week program and really it is 5 days, as one day is what I would call my active rest day, as it is a stretch day. I sometimes will even add an extra cardio work out on my stretch day (only if my body can handle it, otherwise I let this be my active recovery day and only do the stretching).   So at the moment, Fridays  should be my active rest day, as I have no video planned for that day. For these days I listen to my body. If I am exhausted, then I take it easy and add cardio on my stretch day.  Most of the time I throw in one of my fave cardio videos and do some weight training if I have not be able to get this in during the week, some days I just do Yoga, or Pilates, if I am feeling frisky I go for a 3 mile run.  This weekend I did painting of the living room as my active rest day.  During work outs, like Insanity there are active recovery moments built into the work out, where you hydrate, stretch and keep moving before you begin the next portion of exercise.

Active recovery  means that during your workout, instead of sitting down to rest, you are doing one of three things: (1) stretching, (2) hydrating, (3) moving around.  Active rest is sometimes referred to as active recovery, which is like doing yoga the day after a tough workout, like I mentioned above. It is important to listen to your body if you do work out 7 days a week and build in some active rest days.

During the work out, active recovery will actually increase your strength and stamina,  and decrease your joint pain and stiffness.

A few key things to remember when working out.

Stretch - I cannot stress this enough. It improves flexibility and helps you perform better.
A few quick stretching tips:

Stretch Targeted Muscles – Try stretching the muscles that you are targeting as you exercise, which will help them recover. A stretched muscle can be 10-20% stronger than a tight muscle, and stretching will help decrease soreness the next day.

Relax – As you are stretching, take deep breaths and relax into the stretch.  By doing this you will let go of stress and get a deeper stretch.

Move around - After you do an intense High Intensity Interval or heavy lifting, you just want to plop down and not move, keep moving, do squats,  walk in place anything to keep your body moving, so you do not tense up or cool down too much before the next round.

Stay Hydrated - Drink water!!! You should be drinking 1/2- 1 cup of water per every 20 mins of exercise. If you are not hydrated, then you will fatigue quicker.  Hydrating also helps you recover from your work out quicker.

So remember to take active rest days and while you are working out make sure you are doing one of the active recovery techniques to get the most out of your work out and fitness program!

 Have a very fit day!

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