Have you ever experienced that sore muscle, post workout feeling? The one that makes walking down a single flight of stairs seemingly impossible at best and excruciatingly uncomfortable at worst? We have all been there. But don’t worry, delayed onset of muscle soreness (aka DOMS) doesn’t have to be part of your fitness journey. Active rest between sets, after your workout or on your day off will reduce sore muscles and increase muscle growth.
Active rest is essentially a hybrid between stretching and low intensity exercise. Think yoga, going for a walk, swimming or using a foam roller. It helps to restore your body and build muscle after an intensive workout.
Aside from giving your body time to build muscle and repair, here are 5 reasons why making time for active rest is 100% worth it:
Reach your fitness goals faster by building muscle.
Say goodbye to sore muscles by reducing lactic acid build up.
Enhance your health by eliminating toxins.
Improve fascia health, increase your range of motion and stay flexible.
Boost your immune system by encouraging healthy blood flow.
Mentally, keep on track with your goals and maintain a good routine.
Swap out that 40 second break between sets for one of these active rest exercises. Trust us, your not-so-sore muscles will thank you for it later.
Jog on a treadmill.
Slow and low squats or reverse lunges.
TIP: active rest exercises between sets shouldn’t have you feeling fatigued or out of breath.
Get more out of your time at the gym by mixing up your warm up and cool down routine with these active rest alternatives:
Just like you would approach a circuit workout, take 5 minutes at the end of your gym sesh to complete a dynamic stretch circuit. Here’s how to get started.
Hold each stretch for approximately 5 seconds and complete as many rounds as possible within 5 minutes.
Approx. 20 seconds of high knees (jog on the spot, bringing your knees up as high as possible).
5 inch worms
20 leg swings (each leg)
10 slow and low squats
10 lunges with a twist
20 shoulder and arm rotations (swap rotation direction half way through)
Dynamic vs Static Stretching. What’s the difference?
Compared to static stretching, dynamic stretches are only held for a few seconds. Dynamic stretching is active and should mimic the high intensity exercise you will be doing in your workout, but to a lesser intensity.
Using a foam roller after working out will reduce inflammation, ease sore muscles and improve fascia health.
What is fascia? Fascia plays a huge role in our physical health and fitness, find out more about it here.
Getting active on rest day doesn’t mean giving up your hard earned R&R. Wind down while working on your fitness goals with these active rest day activities.
Combine active rest and relaxation with a yoga class on your day off. At Goodlife, our qualified yoga instructors will guide you through a sequence that will strengthen your spine, realign your body and improve posture. Book a class.
Whether it’s taking your dog for a walk around your neighbourhood, hiking through a national park or doing laps of the block on your lunch break. A simple walk is a great form of active rest.
Need some more guidance when it comes to active rest techniques? Our in-club fitness professionals are more than happy to help! So, be sure to ask one of our friendly team members next time you’re in the gym.