Exercise is great, but forcing yourself to endure grueling, high-intensity daily workouts is not wise. The solution? Recovery-focused workouts, which can be a lifesaver in out long-term exercise routines.
High-intensity exercises are becoming ever more popular. Two prominent examples, CrossFit and HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) can push the limits of the human body and are infamously challenging to master. While having a passion for exercising is admirable, we must remember that our bodies also demand rest. That’s why it’s essential to “trick” our bodies by alternating between intense and less taxing sessions that allow for rest and recovery. The latter is “recovery-focused workouts,” which we will look closely at in this article.
As the name implies, a recovery-focused workout will keep you from overtraining, which can lead to burnout and injury. There are two sorts of recovery workouts: active and passive. Active recovery, also known as active rest, is when you do something less strenuous than what you do on your regular training days. Passive recovery workouts, on the other hand, refer to resting after physical activity.
Let’s go over active-recovery workouts in greater detail. Foam rolling, stretching, yoga and mobility exercises are various activities in this category. These movements can help reduce muscle discomfort, improve flexibility, and avoid injuries. And the best part is that you can do these workouts at home.
Active recovery workouts help you get your body back in shape to stay in top condition without overtraining. This means you need to ease the pressure, slow down and take it easy.
A popular choice among many, yoga is good for the body in many ways, especially for the muscles. It can help stretch sore muscles, make us more flexible, keep our blood sugar levels in check and reduce stress. Gentle yoga exercises also teach us how to breathe and control our bodies. And some yoga poses—listed below—can help your body feel better after a hard workout.
- Bridge pose Begin by lying on a mat. Bend both knees and put your feet flat on the floor. Inhale and lift your hips off the floor. Exhale and reach with both hands toward your heels.
- Supine twist pose Lie down on a mat and place both arms straight out from your body. Bend your right knee while taking a breath. Exhale while you twist it to the left side and let your knee fall. Hold—release and repeat, drawing your left knee up and over to your right side.
- Happy baby pose Lie down, then hug your knees into your chest and flex your feet. Grab the outside edges of your feet with your hands and lift the soles until your shins are perpendicular to the floor.
- Cat-cow pose Kneel and put your palms on the floor. Inhale and gently… arch your back, then lift your chin. Exhale, round your back and tuck your chin into your chest.
- Downward dog pose Start by arching your body down until your hands touch the floor. Straighten your arms and align your palms with your shoulders. Inhale and pull your body closer to your feet while maintaining a straight stance. Then exhale while pushing both arms straight and moving your heels toward the floor.
FOAM ROLLING EXERCISES
Self-massages, also called self-myofascial release, is another form of active recovery that can be practiced at home, in this case, with the help of a foam roller. Health and fitness experts recommend foam rolling to relieve tightness, soreness, inflammation and range of motion. You can do this workout with foam rolls, which apply pressure to—and massage—parts of the body that need to recover. Most movements happen on a mat, with the foam roll placed on the body part or muscle to be massaged and then allowed to roll. Using different types of foam rolls, you can work on each muscle group for one to five minutes. There are smooth foam rollers (both high- and low-density) with grooves or bumps and short foam rollers.
The term “mobility exercise” refers to a movement that deliberately extends our joints’ range of motion. Popular examples in this family of exercises include the following:
- Ankle extension with toe curl Position your feet to form a 90-degree angle. For the first step, lift your heels to your tiptoes and hold for five seconds. Then, lift your toes until only your heels touch the floor. Hold for five seconds. Finally, step back down, curl your toes and hold for five seconds. Repeat the routine three times a day.
- Hip flexor with side bend Take a half-kneeling position with the left leg bent forward and the right leg tucked behind in a kneeling position. Try not to slouch and keep the body upright. Place your right hand behind your head and your left palm on your left thigh. Lean forward and make sure the movement comes from the mid-back upwards. Return to an upright position and repeat the exercise for two minutes. Repeat for the other side.|
- Mobility for shoulder From a standing position, tighten your abdominal muscles and buttocks. Make a fist with your right hand and slowly raise your left arm straight up from the front in a circular motion. Then reverse the arm movement from back to front. Do this movement twice for the left arm, then switch to the right arm twice. Repeat the entire set five times.
In closing, exercise is essential for our bodies, but stopping if any part of the body starts to hurt is vital. Forcing ourselves to push forward when we feel pain can lead to injury and extended downtime as we try to recover. As such, it’s crucial to insert recovery-focused workouts to maintain a balanced fitness routine.
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