Rest & Active Recovery Days: Why You Need Both

Posted on May 24th, 2017 by Orthopaedic Specialty Group

For years, athletes have been told that in order to succeed, you have to push yourself. While that’s certainly true sometimes, working out too much or too often can pose just as many health risks as never working out at all. That’s why active recovery and rest days are crucial for a healthy body and peak performance. But knowing when to push yourself and when to rest can be hard, so below are a few suggestions for when you should be taking recovery days.

Rest & Active Recovery Days Why You Need Both

Rest Days

Just as the name implies, taking a rest day means it’s time to let your body relax. This is your day to sleep in, spend time with family, and catch up on things around the house. Despite the fact that rest is essential for high-level performance, many athletes still feel bad “taking a day off.” But have no fear, a day of rest in between multiple days of intense exercise or training will allow your muscles to repair, rebuild, and strengthen.

When should you take a rest day (or two)?

If you’re training for a marathon or grueling obstacle course, you should pencil in one rest day a week. If, on the other hand, you just finished a marathon, you should give yourself a full two or three days of total rest.

Active Recovery

To many, “active recovery” can seem like a bit of an oxymoron. But in short, active recovery can be thought of as an easier workout then you’re used to. For example, someone who has been actively weight training should spend an active recovery day going for a long walk, cycling, or swimming — anything that is low impact. The goal of an active recovery day is to do something that will get blood flowing to your muscles.

When should you be actively recovering?

For people who frequently workout, one or two days of active recovery (in addition to the one rest day) should be enough to prevent muscle strain or tearing.

How will I know if I’m over-exercising?

Symptoms of over-exercising vary among everyone, but these are some of the most common:

  • Depression
  • Appetite loss
  • Sever fatigue
  • Long recovery times after injury
  • Changes in mood/ irritable
  • Joint aches and pains

If you suffer from joint or muscle pain, help is available at Orthopaedic Specialty Group. As Fairfield County’s largest and most experienced orthopedic practice, you can trust our team of specialists to accurately diagnose and treat your discomfort. Schedule an appointment online, or call (203) 337-2600.