Regardless of what the media promotes, when it comes to fitness, you don’t have to push yourself to the absolute max to get the results you want. As with any goal, giving your all and continuing to improve your fitness level is important, but just as important is rest and recovery. In order to reach your fitness goals it may be time to slow down to perform better and get to the next level. Adequate recovery will ensure that you avoid over training. By resetting, you can push past weight loss and strength plateaus that you may face. A general rule of thumb is allowing at least 48 hours between intense workouts on a particular muscle group for recovery before another intense workout. This does not mean you should sit on the couch for two days. Rather, you should pull back and try some of the following exercises. Your body will thank you for it.
- Yoga and Pilates: Yoga and Pilates are types of mind-body fitness that improve muscular strength, flexibility, balance, and coordination. They are made up of low intense movements and posture positions and are even said to increase mental development.
- Walking: Walking is an ideal exercise for any day of exercise especially your rest and recovery days. It is simple and has low impact and low injury rates. The great thing about walking is that nearly every one can see fitness improvements with a walking program added to their fitness regimen. Try this on your rest and recovery days.
- Have some fun: Sometimes all you need is a break from the gym or your normal workout regimen. You can still burn calories if you do alternative physical activity like playing outside with children or your furry friend. Pick your favorite outdoor sport and play a few rounds with friends or family. Put on your favorite music or take a dance class to burn the calories. A temporary escape from routine will make your perform better and stronger when you return to regimen.
- Take a day off: It’s okay to not exercise at least one day of the week. The stress that you put on your muscles if you are in the gym 7 days a week can be detrimental. Every now and then try treating yourself to a massage, spa day, or just an extra-long bath and an extra hour in bed. If you’ve been dedicated and committed to your fitness regimen, you deserve this.
Don’t ever feel bad if you pull back and take a break. Schedule in your rest days just as you do your intense workout days. Recovery is just as vital to any fitness program as any other component. I always say, with weight loss you need 4 things: Cardiovascular exercise, Strength Training, Healthy and balanced Diet, and Rest and Recovery. Without all four of those things, long term success might be impossible.
How do you recover from intense workout days?