When you are first starting out in the world of fitness, it can be tempting to assume that more is always better. You might try to exercise every day, and to go as hard as possible every time. However, though this might seem to make sense, it is actually one of the biggest fitness mistakes you can make.
Instead, you should build in days off with a focus on active rest. In today’s blog, we will look closely at active rest days. What are they, why are they important, and how can you make them work for you?
What are Active Rest Days?
Rest days are an essential part of any exercise regime. They give your body a chance to recover, repair, and rebuild after you have put it under stress by working out. But a rest day does not necessarily mean you have to do no activity at all! Enter active rest.
Active rest days, also known as active recovery days, are days on which you engage in low-intensity exercise designed to promote recovery. On an active rest day, you’ll still exercise, but you will choose activities that are less intense than your regular workouts. Walking, yoga, and swimming are just some popular choices. The key is to focus on low-intensity movement that nourishes your body and your mind.
Why Do Active Rest Days Matter?
Active rest is important for numerous reasons and can help to ensure that you stay physically and mentally healthy, no matter where you are in your exercise journey. Read on to learn about just a few of the amazing benefits of active rest!
Active Rest Reduces Soreness
Active rest days can reduce muscle soreness by stimulating blood flow to the muscles, helping your body to flush waste products that can build up. This helps you to recover more quickly, allowing you to give it your all during your next regular workout.
Active Rest Improves Mobility
Active rest days can also help to improve your mobility and flexibility. Engaging in low-intensity exercise, particularly activities such as yoga or stretching, can help to loosen up tight muscles and improve your range of motion. This can be especially beneficial if you struggle with tight muscles or are recovering from an injury.
Active Rest Can Increase Energy
It might sound counterintuitive, but regular exercise can actually increase your energy levels overall. Have you ever felt energized and fired up to face the day after your workout? If so, you’ve seen this effect in action.
You can also enjoy this benefit on your active rest days. Even low-intensity exercise produces endorphins, the feel-good hormones that improve your mood and reduce your stress levels.
Active Rest Helps Prevent Injury
Working out too hard, too often increases your risk of injury, but incorporating active rest days can help to reduce your risk. Low-intensity exercise helps to improve your flexibility and mobility, lowering the risk of strains and sprains. Active rest days also help to prevent overuse injuries, which occur when you push your body too hard repeatedly.
How to Make Active Rest Days Work for You
Now that you understand the benefits of active rest days, you might be wondering how best to incorporate them into your routine. Here are a few of our top tips to help you.
We all live busy lives, and a little planning can help to keep your fitness regime running smoothly. Plan your workouts and active rest days in advance and add them to your calendar to ensure that you don't skip them. Consider scheduling active rest on days when you expect to be particularly sore or tired.
Listen to Your Body
Your body knows what it needs, so listen to your body and adjust your active rest days as needed. If you’d planned to run but your muscles are screaming at you, consider walking instead. If you can’t face the gym, why not do some gentle yoga? And if you feel particularly sore or exhausted, consider taking a full rest day instead.
Choose Activities You Enjoy and Keep It Fun
Any form of low-intensity exercise is suitable for an active rest day. If you want to stick to your plan, the most important thing is to choose something that you enjoy. This will make your workout an enjoyable, relaxing activity rather than a chore. Make your active rest days even more fun by trying new activities or exercising with a friend.