Active recovery is something that gets talked about a lot in the world of sports, but what does it really mean, and is it actually effective?
Active Recovery and Hard Training
Active recovery is the concept of doing a workout that is less intense than your normal workout, and at a lower volume. For example, someone who does martial arts may use yoga as a form of active recovery. Someone who lifts weights may do some very light, low-intensity cardio. A long-distance runner might opt to go for a brisk walk.
The idea behind active recovery is that you are doing less than you normally do, but you’re still getting your heart rate up and working a little bit. Because you’re still moving, your muscles are getting good blood flow, and you are therefore going to be able to heal more efficiently, and recover from your workouts.
Does Active Recovery Work?
Active recovery is something that a lot of serious athletes use. It is particularly popular in the world of strength training, because people will train hard and heavy, and maybe even go to failure, then end up feeling stiff and sore the next day. Active recovery lets people shake off the stiffness, and do “something” while still reducing their volume and giving themselves what feels like a rest.
For most athletes who are healthy or injured, a ‘down period’ is a good idea. The ‘down period’ should involve doing about 1/3rd less training in terms of volume compared to what they normally do. Some people do advocate for days where you do ‘nothing’ and that can be good if you are actually injured, but if you’r ehealthy and trying to keep some momentum going, then it makes more sense to try and keep moving.
Things like running at a moderate pace for a short period of time, or riding a bike at a slower pace can help with soothing sore muscles and with improving day to day performance.
Active recovery is something that must be properly managed. If you use your active recovery time to run a long distance at a high pace, or to do something ‘to failure’ then that will defeat the point. You should be doing enough to get yourself ‘warmed up’ and to allow yourself to feel a little looser – nothing more than that. Also read about Pain Patches .
A good coach will give you some recommendations that will allow you to plan out a period of active recovering, with suggestions for pace and intensity based on your current level of fitness. What a lot of people don’t understand is that active recovery is something that is in the realms of ‘active recovery’ for one person could be a ‘proper workout’ for another. It is important that you understand your own fitness levels and what is at an acceptable level of perceived exertion for you. Knowing your body and your fitness will help you to pick the right workouts to keep yourself ticking over, and to ease the soreness , shop now.