What is Active Recovery?

smiling woman resting on gym equipment after exercise before water intake active recovery

What is Active Recovery?

Active recovery refers to engaging in light physical activity after more intense exercise to help the body recover faster. It aims to gradually reduce strain on the muscles and cardiovascular system after strenuous training.

How Does Active Recovery Work?

Active recovery activities get blood pumping through the worked muscles to deliver nutrients and oxygen while clearing out metabolic waste products like lactate. This speeds recovery so you’re ready for your next hard training session sooner. Low intensity cardio like walking or easy cycling are common active recovery choices.

Benefits of Active Recovery

  • Removes lactate to reduce muscle soreness
  • Increases blood flow to deliver nutrients and accelerate repair
  • Maintains elevated heart rate to keep metabolism boosted
  • Avoids sudden stop in activity which can cause dizziness

Related Terms

  • Recovery – Resting period after training allowing body to adapt, regenerate, and restore depleted fuels. Vital for building fitness.
  • Cool down – Low intensity exercise after training to help body safely transition to rest. Improves recovery by removing lactate.
  • Lactate threshold – Exercise intensity where lactate builds up rapidly in bloodstream. Causes fatigue and muscular burn.
  • DOMS – Delayed onset muscle soreness. Caused by muscle damage from novel or strenuous exercise. Normal result of training.

Common Questions

  • How long should you do active recovery for? 10-30 minutes is usually sufficient.
  • When should you do it? Within about 30 minutes after high intensity training.
  • What is too intense for active recovery? You want an easy pace about 50-60% of max heart rate.

Don’t Confuse With

  • Passive recovery – Resting completely after exercise without activity.
  • Warm up – Light activity to prepare muscles for exercise, not done after.

In summary, active recovery is a simple way to speed muscle recovery after challenging workouts so you can train hard again sooner.

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