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Active Rest Days

January 9th, 2022

What is Active Rest?

Not all rest are the same:

- Passive Rest: Lie on a comfortable couch and watch Netflix – might seem appealing but it is not the most productive for your fitness routine.

- Active Rest: Involves performing light exercises (E.g. swimming, stretching or foam rolling) that stimulate the recovery process without imposing undue stress on the injured body part.

Why do we need Active Rest?

To fully understand that, first we must understand how skeletal muscle grows – in order to have movement from a muscle, the fibers in the muscle must contract. This is due to motor neurons (a pathway in which nerve impulses pass from the brain or spinal cord to the muscle), and is driven by your central nervous system (CNS). The stronger these pathways are developed, the more contraction through the muscle i.e the greater performance from a muscle(s).

- Active rest prevents injury

If you don’t include active rest into your training schedule, you are breaking down muscle tissue faster than it can repair itself, which leads to a higher chance of soft tissue injury.

- Active rest speed up recovery

Low-intensity workouts help your muscle heals. Increased blood flow from these workouts deliver oxygen and amino acids to repair muscles and relieve pain and soreness.

- Active rest lower stress

Active rest exercise such as yoga and stretching often require slow motions and focus on breathing, which helps to reduce stress level.

How do you know it’s time for an active rest day

Ask yourself:

1. Am I sore? – Pain is a great indicator that your body may not be ready to carry out certain exercise. Any soreness lasting more than 48 hours is your body’s way of saying it’s time for a break.

2. Is my workout performance going down? – That’s a clear sign you need an active rest.

3. How am I feeling? – If you score 5 or less out of a 1-10scale, it’s time to rest.

Here is an example of how your weekly training might look like with Active Rest days.

Monday Workout

HIIT (lower-body workouts) / Leg day in the gym / Long run

Tuesday Active Rest

Yoga / Stretching on legs

Wednesday Workout

HIIT (Target upper-body)/ Arm and chest training in the gym

Thursday Workout

Gives arms a break with a cycling session/ Swimming/ Back and Abs training in the gym

Friday Active Rest

Stretching or Foam rolling

Saturday Workout

HIIT (Target core)/Cardio

Sunday Rest

You don’t have to be on the move every single day. If you are feeling tired, even on your active rest day, listen to your body and take a day or two off.

Feeling sore and lacking motivation? Take an active rest day today and notice the difference in your body when you get back to your workout routine. Rest is necessary in your training plan and will eventually move you closer to your goals. Let’s rest up!

How are your New Year Resolutions going? For those who are working towards a fitness goal, don’t forget recovery is an important component of a training plan, which brings up our topic today – Active Rest Days.

Whether you are an athlete, a regular gym member, or just wanting to keep fit, rest days play a crucial part to reach your goals and avoid any injuries from overtraining or exhaustion.

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Elyse Lam
Elyse has over 10 years of experience in marketing, specialising in digital marketing and content creation. She confidently spreads her attention across beauty, travel, and lifestyle.
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