Hi Friends of Oompf, it’s Alvan here. Today we will be talking about the difference between a rest day and doing active recovery. There is often a blurred line between rest days and days for active recovery. When should you rest and when should you still stay active? Well, active recovery is defined as keeping active but using less intensity than you would during a regular workout. For example, if you are marathon runner, a day of active recovery may involve a leisure bike ride or a slow jog. If you do heavy strength training, a day of active recovery may be doing yoga or pilates. The intensity in which you perform these activities depends on your fitness levels but the bottom line of active recovery is to get blood flowing to muscles to enhance and accelerate your recovery process.
Rest, on the other hand involves physical recharging such as getting more sleep to allow your muscles to repair, recover, and grow stronger. Sleep is one of the biggest factors that aid your recovery process and if you have noticed a plateau in your fitness journey, then sleep may very well be your answer. Thats not to say that you should be a complete couch potato on rest days. You may still perform your usual daily activities and house chores without working up too much of a sweat.
So, when should you have rest days and when should you do active recovery?Although it is advisable to take about 1-2 rest days a week, there is no ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to fitness. You will need to listen to your body and determine the amount of rest you need. Signs that you may need rest days can include:
- body aches that never go away
- experiencing pain when performing certain movements
- feeling mentally and physically drained after a workout
- mood swings
- plateau in strength and performance
- Trouble falling asleep or experiencing sleep disturbances
If none of the above applies to you and you are working out 2-4 times a week, you can use the other days to perform light activities such as dynamic or static stretching, slow jogging or even foam rolling. Did you find this article useful? Email to us your feedback at [email protected]