Health Advocate Blog

Reward yourself with rest, recovery, and relaxation

One of the best things you can do for your body is reward it with some rest, recovery and relaxation time. This is especially important during high-stress, difficult times (such as the current pandemic) for self-care and to allow your muscles an opportunity to recover and grow from exercise. In terms of exercise, “rest” implies that you are not doing anything physical; you participate in sedentary activities requiring minimal activity. Rest is a vital part of exercise recovery, but you shouldn’t be resting for an entire day. Some movement is required to promote muscle growth. This is where exercise recovery comes into play. Recovery exercises should never be the same intensity level as your normal exercise routine and should not cause additional muscle soreness. Keep these tips in mind:

Listen to your body. If you feel sore and tired, it’s a good indication your body may need the time to recover.

Plan to get at least 1 to 2 days of recovery time per week. Build it into your workout schedule, just as you would your normal exercises.

Perform low-impact, light intensity exercises on your recovery days. Are you unsure of where to start? Try these ideas! Simple exercises like these can help maintain the stamina you’ve worked to build and keep you active!

  • Tai Chi – This-low impact, low intensity exercise is great way not only to keep moving on your recovery day, but is a great way to relieve stress and relax. Learn more about tai chi here!
  • Yoga – Similar to tai chi, yoga keeps you moving with slow, gentle movements. Where it differs is with yoga, you perform a series of poses that help you stretch your muscles and improve your strength. Interested in learning more? Click here!
  • Pilates – The primary goal of Pilates is to strengthen and tone your core muscles. At the same time, much of Pilates focuses around breathing, stability and flexibility. You can learn more about Pilates here.

These three exercises can be characterized as mind/body exercises that can help promote overall well-being and relaxation!

Don’t discount walking! This form of exercise is often discredited since it is something we do every day. However, walking for fitness is a great low-impact activity to perform on your recovery days. Walking helps improve your cardiovascular fitness and endurance.