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Active Rest Days: The Secret to Getting Fit

Shopify API March 11, 2022 No Comments
Learn why active rest days are the secret to getting fit and staying healthy,
with better circulation, mobility, and performance.
Man practicing active rest

March 2022. This article is independently written by Shelby Golding. All opinions given are hers. Shelby has been certified as a personal trainer and nutritional specialist since 2007. In 2008, she found her passion for writing about these topics and hasn't looked back.

Man practicing active rest

This article is independently written by Shelby Golding. All opinions given are hers. Shelby has been certified as a personal trainer and nutritional specialist since 2007. In 2008, she found her passion for writing about these topics and hasn't looked back.

Exercise offers many benefits, including weight maintenance, better circulation, improved immunity, and enhanced moods. But like all good things in life, too much exercise is not healthy for your body.

Excessive exercise can eventually lead to burnout or overtraining. Some signs of burnout and overtraining include a lack of endurance, chronic pain in your muscles or joints, weight loss, and long recovery times. Your mood might also be affected as overtraining impacts your stress hormones, causing crankiness and an inability to concentrate.

You can prevent overtraining by incorporating an active rest day into your weekly exercise routine. Keep reading to learn more about active vs. passive rest and the benefits of taking a day off from exercise.

What Is Active Rest?

Active Rest days for recovery
For most people, a typical rest day involves a lot of television and not much movement. This kind of rest is called passive rest. You allow your body to recover while doing little to no physical activity.

You still get up and move around during an active rest day, but the activity will be much less intense and strenuous than usual. The trick is not to push yourself as hard as you would on a day of exercise.

Typical active rest day activities include:
  • Going for a leisurely walk
  • Yoga or light stretching
  • Tai Chi
  • Cycling
  • Swimming
  • Hiking (low incline)
You can use your active rest days to incorporate complementary or cross-training exercises. Cross-training is a conditioning technique that works muscles you aren’t using during your regular workout routines.

For example, a runner's exercise works a lot of the major muscle groups in the body, including quads, hip flexors, hamstrings, glutes, and calf muscles. So a good cross-training exercise for runners would be Tai Chi – a slow, flowing mind-body exercise that works all the small muscles in the arms, legs, and core.

Benefits of Active Rest

Active rest is a form of recovery from regular, intense exercise. When you exercise, tiny tears are created in the fiber of your muscles, resulting in soreness or stiffness. As you recover from your workout, your muscles build themselves back up with increasing resistance to the tears until you do the same workout without any soreness whatsoever.

Even people who exercise regularly need time to rebuild glycogen stores to have the energy to exercise again the next day. They also need time to repair the torn muscle fibers and get rid of lactic acid buildup.

Here are a few ways that an active rest day helps with recovery and improves overall performance.

1. Increase Circulation

Slow, low-impact movement helps reduce soreness and tension by increasing circulation through the muscles. The improved circulation eliminates toxins (such as lactic acid) from the bloodstream faster. It also calms the nervous system to produce less adrenalin and cortisol, which keeps our mood stable and relieves stress.

2. Improve Mobility

An active rest day also improves mobility. After a moderately intense exercise, our body is usually stiff, sore, and tired. We move the muscles just enough to relieve the soreness during active rest and spend some time stretching the areas that pain us the most. A full range of motion is essential for preventing injuries during our regular workouts.

3. Boost Motivation

The key to healthy muscle recovery is rest. But resting by sitting on the couch may make you lose motivation. You spend the whole day limping around thinking about how sore you are, and you do not want to repeat the experience. So you skip the gym the next day. And just like that, your habit is broken.

Inspiration gets you into the gym, but consistency guarantees that you continue to go. Active rest is an excellent way to build an exercise habit because it keeps you from overdoing it and spending the whole next day recovering.

 4. Enhance Performance

Athletes and other exercise fanatics use active rest to improve performance. You cannot reach peak performance without rest days, but you also need to maintain consistent movement to achieve a high level of physical fitness.

Small bouts of exercise over a long period have a snowball effect on performance. Active rest supports mobility and quick recovery. It allows you to work the smaller muscles you might miss during regular exercise, and it keeps your mood stable even during intense training sessions.

5. Gets You Out of the Gym

Our regular workout routine might be pretty boring. We go to the gym, hop on a bike, run down a favorite trail… and most of the time, we’re by ourselves. However, most active rest day activities can be done with friends or family members. It gets us out of the gym and socializing with the people we love while moving our bodies.

How Often Should You Incorporate Active Rest Days?

Experts suggest adding a rest day every three to five days. People who do high-intensity cardio, such as runners or long-distance cyclers, will need them more often than people who only do strength training. However, the only person who knows when your body needs to rest is you. If you are tired, moody, sick, or sore, you probably need a rest day.

Beginners in the exercise world might need more rest days than those exercising regularly for a while. This is why active rest is so good for beginners. It keeps you from losing momentum while building up the necessary muscles to exercise more often.

How Often Should You Incorporate Active Rest Days?

Active rest days are the secret to getting fit healthily and sustainably. Yes, you can push your body and work out every day of the week, but eventually, you will hit a wall. Active rest allows you to keep moving while improving performance and maintaining motivation. Try adding a few active rest activities like yoga or leisurely walk to your routine and see how it can benefit you!

And if you’re feeling sore or dealing with chronic pain, remember to bring your Kailo Pain Patch with you on active rest days! Kailo is designed to relieve pain in seconds and a recent study showed 97% of users were extremely satisfied with Kailo over oral medication.

Disclaimer: Kailo should not be used if you have a pacemaker or if you are pregnant. Always consult your doctor or health care professional before using Kailo.


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