Athletes often do recovery exercises to help their body relax after a tough session of training. Recovery exercises are as beneficial and important as the sports themselves, as they help in the circulation of the blood and muscle recovery to avoid being strained. 

There are two types of recovery: passive and active.  In passive recovery, the body is in complete rest. This includes any form of inactivity, such as sitting or lying down, and can be beneficial if you’re injured in some way or when you experience significant pain after exercising. 

On the other hand, active recovery has many benefits for your body. This type of recovery often involves low-intensity exercises such as walking, swimming, or yoga. For instance, it can speed up your muscles’ rebuilding process and can reduce its soreness after exercising. It helps muscle recovery by increasing blood flow without putting too much pressure on your joints and muscles.

Even though a lot of people prefer active recovery exercises, you can do myofascial release with foam rollers to help your muscles recover. 

In case you’re wondering why it’s important to incorporate recovery exercises in your routine, here are the benefits of doing it:

1. Faster Recovery

Sore muscles are expected after an exercise. Therefore, doing recovery exercises can significantly help reduce the delayed onset of muscle soreness and will allow your body to prepare for your next exercise.

2. Reduces Lactic Acid Build-Up

During your exercise routines, your body uses energy acquired from metabolic reactions with the help of the activities that our cells perform. However, as a result, it produces by-products like lactic acid that can cause fatigue and soreness. Recovery exercises helps remove lactate in our blood, therefore, reducing fatigue and muscle soreness. 

3. Decreases Toxins

As a result of cell activity, a lot of toxins accumulate in the muscles. Recovery exercises help remove these toxins through an enzyme that helps purge waste from the body. 

4. Normalizes Heart Rate

Our cardiovascular system recovers and adjusts after exercising since, during an exercise, our heart rate and blood pressure increases. You would want your heart rate to return to normal slowly. Doing recovery exercises can help normalize it to avoid the feeling of light-headedness.

If you only feel sore, doing active recovery exercises is more helpful for your body than passive recovery exercises. These are the active recovery exercises that you can easily do to reap its health benefits:

  • Light Cardio: Light cardio, like walking and jogging, enhances blood flow and significantly helps with recovery. A few minutes of walking can be enough to promote blood flow and reduce the soreness and stiffness of muscles.  
  • Bodyweight Exercises: Bodyweight training is easy to learn, can be done anywhere, and can be very effective. Some people get innovative when doing these exercises but the usual exercises that most people do for active recovery are push-ups, squats, lunges, and crunches. These are typically incorporated between exercise routines.
  • Cycling: This can be done outdoors or indoors through stationary bikes. A lot of people are into indoor cycling as there are cycling instructors who can guide you regarding the proper way of doing it, and this is usually offered in a group fitness setting. Therefore, you can hop on a stationary bike at a gym in between your exercises. Same goes for when you do your workout outdoors as you can easily bring a bike with you.
  • Skipping: Skipping lightly using a skipping rope for 15 minutes can be a great active recovery exercise. All you need is a pair of trainers, space, and a skipping rope. Skip lightly for 3 minutes then rest for 1 minute in between by walking around to optimize your routine.
  • Water Exercises: Doing water aerobics and swimming are also one of the great ways to do active recovery exercises. There are many health benefits you can experience when you go swimming, such as helping you relax sores muscles, thus preventing injuries. 
  • Yoga: Many principles of yoga are useful for people who regularly exercise, as well as for athletes as during active recovery sessions. Yoga is a light exercise that promotes blood flow to the muscles and helps you control your breathing, which will be beneficial, especially when you do strenuous workouts. Yoga can also increase joint mobility.

Bottom Line

Recovery exercises can speed up the process of muscle rebuilding and it can alleviate the soreness that you feel during or after doing an exercise. It’s best to incorporate active recovery exercises in your routine so you can take advantage of the benefits that were mentioned above. Don’t shy away from pushing yourself when indulging in these activities, as it can help you optimize your exercise routines.