There is a common misconception in the fitness community that rest days should be relegated to sedation. The event comprising a lot of sitting, laying, napping, and most likely binge eating was always a tradition. After a hard work span, the reward is usually becoming a couch potato for a day or two.
In theory, the idea of the potato rest day makes a lot of sense. A lot of us live very chaotic lives filled with emotional and physical stressors. Throw some intense workouts in there, and your body is on a crash course for…well, a crash. It would make sense that after such an extreme schedule, we humans would need the complete opposite. Little movement, an abundance of rest, and a caloric surplus would seemingly be the best route to recharge for the chaos of life ahead.
Sure, theoretically, this sounds like the best option for recovery, but let’s take a step back. Actually, let’s take a lot of steps back.
If we needed to crash into a bag of bones to recover, we never would have evolved to where we are now. Our bodies are supposed to move every day and also heal through that movement.
What to do instead
Hence the term that has been coined “active rest” to fill those days when you can’t chase a pump or sweat. This isn’t a consolatory prize for missing the beloved gym, but instead an integral part of making the gains in all facets of fitness.
This just needs to be something that gets you moving but in a gentle way. A way to get the fluids responsible for recovery running a little bit faster throughout the body. You do not want to strain yourself, though. Anything more than a glisten of sweat is doing too much.
Active rest needs to be something that elongates and shortens your muscle groups without causing a pump. Bonus points if you can put your joints through full ranges of motion!
My favorite active rest activities
-Walks, hikes, etc
All in all, when you decide to take a rest day, don’t become a statue on the couch. Instead, nourish your body with some good food, light movement, and if possible, grab some sunlight. This will give your body what it needs to recover quickly in a natural way!
What’s to come!
Hey! Thank you for reading! 2020 was obviously a crazy year, and 2021 is already testing our patience. I am doing my absolute best to have a positive outlook, and hopefully, my writing this year will reflect that. Speaking of writing, my plan is to post much more on here, but I will not obsess over the length. Just as my goals with fitness, the focus is on consistency and not intensity.
Also, if you haven’t heard already, I started a podcast with my friend Sher! It is called “Balance and Moderation,” and it focuses on bringing a compassionate and realistic voice to the wellness community. You can find it on all podcast streaming platforms. If you like it, please rate/review it and send it to someone you love. It would mean the world to me if you did.
With Big Love,