For many people, it’s hard enough to get started with exercise. However, if you get bit by the exercise bug (and many of our Milo Family have been), it can be difficult to know when to dial it back and recover.
Recovery is one of the most important parts of any exercise training program. Whether you are an elite athlete or a casual exerciser, you should be taking your recovery seriously. Every performance machine needs a maintenance program and our bodies are no different!
How do we know when to recover and what should we be doing to keep our bodies in tip-top shape?
What is Active Recovery?
Recovery doesn’t necessarily mean sitting on the couch all weekend and watching TV. There are better ways to revitalize your body and prepare for your next training day.
The term ‘active recovery’ was something that I hadn’t taken seriously in my young adulthood. I thought that recovery work was a way to justify taking days off. However, I now view my recovery days as even more important than my regular training days.
This is because I have never had an issue pushing my body to its limits. Instead, I actually need to force myself to rest and recover properly. Active recovery means that you should find an activity that gets blood flowing, moves your body in multiple planes of motion, and uses different energy systems than you would normally train.
One of my favorite forms of active recovery is swimming. Swimming is an excellent recovery exercise because of the minimal impact on joints, the three-dimensional motion, and the cardiocirculatory aspect.
This is just one example, but I encourage you to find an activity or sport where you can ACTIVELY recover.
My personal training split differs from week to week. Sometimes I will go three days on, one day off. Other weeks, I will train six straight days. Regardless, I know how important recovery days are. Even on a ‘training’ day in the middle of the week, I may switch up the exercises, rep scheme, and intensity so my workout serves as a recovery session.
Ultimately, you should find a program that works for you. As always, I recommend finding a trustworthy coach. The combination of listening to your body and having an experienced coach in your corner is a recipe for success!
Don’t use ‘recovery’ days as a means to be lazy. Rather, find a system that keeps your body healthy, strong, and resilient. Sprinkle in recovery days when necessary and don’t be afraid to deload once in a while.
Mind, Body, and Soul
Contrary to popular belief, recovery isn’t just for the body. Recovery also pertains to your mind (and soul for that matter). You should focus on something other than your fitness training to detox your mind. I find that recovery days allow me to ramp up my intensity (largely because I’m in a good mental space) during my next training session.
The mental aspect of fitness is often overlooked, but I encourage you to be mindful of all facets of your fitness. Don’t be afraid to do something outside of your comfort zone for recovery. Perhaps you’ve never tried meditating – give it a shot! Never done a yoga workout? Find a video you think looks promising and try it out. Experience new forms of fitness and keep your mind, body and soul healthy.
There is no absolute way to recover. True recovery requires you to be in tune with yourself and to be a good listener of your body.
What is your favorite way to recover? Do you have any tips for the Milo Family?
We would love to hear your insight in a comment below. Until next time, stay moving!