I used to think you ought to limit your body movements as much as possible on a recovery day. My thinking has since changed. I already spend more than enough time just sitting at a chair staring at a computer—I don’t need a recovery day for that. So where I used to be an advocate of inactive recovery, I’m now a definite active recovery proponent. Yes, you can recover by taking a bike ride, in my opinion, but I think there’s another option as well. Consider this for a recovery activity: walking.
Why walking? Well, here are my reasons:
• You’re still moving enough to get your blood flowing, albeit at a heart rate that would generally be considered below your training level. You’re moving enough to get your juices flowing, and flushing out the debris from your workout is an important part of the inflammation process which governs all exercise improvement.
• Being outside and moving slowly exposes you to sunlight, a great source of vitamin D. Vitamin D is necessary to absorb calcium into your bones. Wanna avoid getting osteoporosis or some other bone-density issues? Make sure you get your sunlight every day. Walking is a great way to do that.
• It’s low-level exercise, really. It’s what our bodies are used to doing—most people used to get their strength from working and walking (that was before we all took jobs gazing at screens all day). With walking, you’re not exerting yourself to a degree where you’ll need a recovery
day to recover from your recovery day—it isn’t severe enough to cause you to release cortisol as a result of stress. It’s still, in my opinion,
healthier for your body than lying in bed or sitting at a computer.
Besides taking a walk, I think it’s a good idea to massage out any tight or sore muscle groups. A little bit of stretching won’t hurt. Some deep breathing might not kill you either. But take it easy. Don’t stress. Get a full night’s rest.
How about you readers (the thousands of people who come here every day)? What do you typically do to recover?