What is "Recovery" and Does It Matter?
Here's a potent little workout secret: what you do off the treadmill can matter as much as what you do on it. It's true! Rest and recovery are a key part of a balanced workout practice. Recovery sessions and even standalone recovery studios are popping up all over and it's for good reason. The muscles you train need rest in order to repair and rebuild. It's recommended that you wait up to two full days before training the same muscles. But there's more to recovery than a passive waiting period. Read on to find out how to kick your recovery routine into high gear.
Benefits of Active Recovery
Any sort of rest in between workouts is worthwhile. It's important to rest in whatever way works best for you and your body. Think of "active recovery" as extra credit. It's a way to feel less sedentary on your rest days, especially if you're training hard. An active recovery program can boost muscle repair, reduce post workout stiffness and muscle inflammation, and restore balance to your heart rate and energy level. Not bad for an "off" day, right?
Here are our favorite ways to participate in active recovery:
- 30-minute walks — it's all about the steady-state cardio. Take a 30-minute walk at an effort level ranging from 4 to 6. (Resist all temptation to run!)
- Yoga — a low intensity yoga flow is a great way to work on flexibility and gently stretch sore muscles.
- Swimming — easy on the joints, great for the heart rate.
- Stretching — take a guided stretching class or DIY it at home.
- Hydration — naturally! Keep up with Cure on your recovery days to prevent dips in hydration.
Am I Recovered Yet?
Okay, okay, so you're obsessed with performance metrics. No judgment here, because so are we. You can track your recovery with tools like WHOOP, a hit among the pros. WHOOP measures your recovery and quantifies how much exertion your body is ready for, so you can plan your training accordingly and avoid strain or injury. It even monitors your sleep and suggests how many
hours of sleep your body needs to fully recover. (Our co-founder, Alex, is a WHOOP convert himself!)
Ultimately, your body knows best. We think the most effective way of knowing if you're recovered is to listen to your body and what it's telling you.
Have a favorite method of active recovery? Leave it in the comments for fellow recover-ers!