So you woke up this morning and your legs are screaming at you from the long run/bike/hike you did yesterday or even two days ago…. This sounds like a perfect reason for a rest day, right?
Wrong.
As appealing as taking a day off of all activity may be, it may not be the best way to get rid of that leg soreness. A better option is to perform some Active Rest.
What is Active Rest?
Active Rest or Active Recovery is choosing to perform a low-intensity activity instead of doing nothing. That low-intensity activity can be as simple as going for a 30-minute walk or taking some time to do some stretching on the living room floor.
For more active people trading in a day off for a swim in the pool or easy spin, a bike ride can be the key to a faster recovery from that hard workout.
How Does Active Rest Work?
Active rest works by increasing the blood flow to the muscles. This flushes out the body’s natural by-products caused by excessive activity that cause the soreness. I recommend performing a light activity for 30 minutes to an hour and follow it up with some light stretching, foam rolling, or using a massage stick.
Work on Your Technique
Another great option for an active rest day for a runner, cyclist or swimmer is to keep the intensity low and work on your technique.
Take the time you have been wanting to or need to and work on your cycle stroke efficiency or your breathing technique. That way you can not only be improving your technique but preparing your body for your next workout.
To Wrap Up . . .
Perform active rest the days after a hard workout or when you are sore. You will decrease the amount of muscle soreness you have. You can hopefully return to your exercise regimen without limitation afterwards.