6 Activities for an Active Rest Day
After an intense workout at 9Round, your body obviously needs to rest, but if you think staying glued to your couch is the answer, you might want to think again. Active rest days can actually be more beneficial for your muscle recovery compared to a full, do nothing rest day, and here’s why:
Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) typically sets in within 12 to 24 hours following a workout. DOMS can last up to 72 hours, and it’s thought to occur from micro tears in our muscle fibers. While this sounds kind of scary, it’s actually beneficial for our muscles — as long as we treat our bodies well after a tough workout.
Micro tears can happen when you participate in strenuous activity than normal, new exercises, or change in your workout habits. As these micro tears begin to heal, our muscles will grow bigger and stronger to help our body overcome new stressors. This is how strength #gains are made. The light activity on active rest days allows you to keep your body moving, which helps circulate blood and nutrients to your muscles for the recovery process. Without that extra blood flow, it’s harder for your muscles to heal properly.
So, if you’re ready to plan your next active rest day to help your muscles recover, keep reading!
Complete a Relaxing Yoga Session
A short restorative yoga session the day after an intense workout will help you keep moving to get your muscles the nutrients they need. Simple yoga routines can be calming and may provide some well-needed stress relief after you’ve shredded your muscles at the gym. Choose a relaxing routine to follow that focuses on steady breathing, and you can zen out while keeping your body in motion.
Take a Walk in the Park
According to the Mayo Clinic, a brisk walk can help you strengthen your muscles and bones, boost your mood, and improve your balance and coordination. This makes walking a great activity for an active rest day. You can walk virtually anywhere, so grab your tennis shoes and go for a lap around the neighborhood or head to your local park to enjoy some nice scenery while you walk. Be sure to bring your family members, including your pets, along with you to help them get some daily movement in as well.
Enjoy a Nice Bike Ride
Biking or cycling is another great low-impact exercise for active rest days, as it revs up your heart rate without putting too much stress on your joints. Complete a quick indoor bike session at your leisure or take things outdoors to enjoy nature while you ride. Keep in mind, if you’re cycling outdoors, you may encounter more changes in terrain, which can make your bike ride more challenging.
Note: You’ll want to avoid major challenges, like a difficult bike trail, during an active rest day if your muscles are still sore following your workout. Make sure you take things at a steady pace, so you don’t overdo it.
Take a Quick Dip in the Pool
Aquatic exercise is great for an active rest day, as the resistance from the water helps strengthen your muscles while the buoyancy provides some added support to protect your joints. A leisurely swim the day following an intense workout is a good option for an active rest day, especially if you’re looking for fun ways to cool off in the summer heat.
Hit Up Your Local Hiking Trails
If you enjoy the outdoors, then hiking is the perfect active rest day activity for you! A good hike can help lower stress levels, improve your mood, and provide greater mental clarity. Pick an easy or moderate trail to complete the day after your intense workout, and you can enjoy nature while keeping your body in motion. Uneven terrain levels will provide a small challenge to wake up your muscles while the beautiful scenery can help you unwind.
Massage Your Muscles
According to ACE Fitness, massaging helps break up collagen adhesions that are created in response to exercise and helps realign your muscle tissue to allow different layers to slide against each other with fewer restrictions. You can get this benefit from traditional massage therapy and a licensed massage therapist, or you can attempt the roll out your muscles on your own with a foam roller. While massaging out your muscles may help relieve tension and increase blood flow, these effects are short-lived, so you may need to complete and additional activity for a more beneficial active rest day.
Now that you know a few different ways to enjoy your active rest days, you can start to mix things up between your Daily 9Round Workouts. We recommend working out at our gyms at least three days a week, so that leaves you plenty of time to enjoy some of these activities on your days off while you recover from our intense workouts.
P.S. – if you’ve been taking a few too many rest days lately and need a new fitness routine to help jumpstart your progress, be sure to claim your FREE Introductory Workout using the link below and try 9Round today!