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Active Recovery: Why You Should Add It On Your Off Days

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Importance of Active Recovery

Active recovery is low intensity exercise that can be used on your off day. The goal is to increase blood flow to muscles while at the same time be gentle enough to allow muscles to heal. Ideally, your heart rate should stay 50 beats per minute below your maximum heart rate or lower to be considered low intensity exercise. Furthermore, depending on activity levels, sessions can be 15 – 40 minutes. 

Active Recovery Benefits

  • Speeds up the recovery process 
  • Minimizes delayed onset muscle soreness, stiffness, discomfort
  • Improves overall mood after strenuous activities 
  • Increases blood flow to muscles to reduce inflammation process of microtears 

Types of Activities 

  • Cardio: Walking, light cycling, Hiking, Swimming
  • Strength: Light weights up to 25% of 1 Rep Max or bodyweight 
  • Mobility:  Yoga, foam rolling, self myofascial techniques  
  • Postural awareness: Pilates, core stability, balance 

Physical Therapy for Activity Recovery 

Using your home exercise program to address deficits in strength, mobility, core stability, and postural awareness, can help progress your recovery from injuries as well prevent overuse injuries. Below are four core movements that focus on postural awareness. Moreover, these can be tackled on an active recovery day.

single leg bridge - Active Recovery: Why You Should Add It On Your Off Days

Single leg bridge

  1. Start lying on your back with yours arms by your side
  2. Bring one leg up so that the knee is over your hip
  3. Press your other foot into the ground to lift your body off the ground
  4. Make sure you do not overextend and arch back
  5. Also, try to maintain a level pelvis as you lift your hips in the air

bearcrawl1 1 - Active Recovery: Why You Should Add It On Your Off Days
bearcrawl2 - Active Recovery: Why You Should Add It On Your Off Days

Bear Crawl

  1. Find neutral spine in a quadruped position
  2. Next, maintain the position and walk with opposite leg and arm forward
  3. Last, for an added challenge you can try it backwards
plank1 - Active Recovery: Why You Should Add It On Your Off Days
plank2 1 - Active Recovery: Why You Should Add It On Your Off Days

Body Saw

  1. Start in a plank on your elbows (you can place a slider or towel at feet to help you move)
  2. Shift your upper body forward (lats and lower trap specifically)
  3. Return to start position
quadpushthrough1 1 - Active Recovery: Why You Should Add It On Your Off Days
quadpushthrough2 1 - Active Recovery: Why You Should Add It On Your Off Days

Quadruped to Push Through

  1. Start in a quadruped position 
  2. Bring one leg toward the opposite side as you open vertically with the same side arm in air
  3. Return to start position 
  4. Perform on the other side

For more active recovery exercises, check out our Youtube Channel. If you want to learn more about how you could benefit from physical therapy, reach out to use at Atlanta PT!

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