When you picture yourself “just workin' on your fitness," a laid-back Sunday morning brunching with your besties probably isn't the first thing to pop into your head.
But this is actually what trainers are prescribing… kind of.
So, here's the deal: It's important to give your body a day for some TLC, but minor activity is still necessary for best results. It's basically finding a balancing act between the perfect amount of rest and movement.
Hitting the pavement too often without a break can cause injury from the repetitive movements. You're also more likely to have a decreased immune system, become irritable from the mental burnout and plateau when it comes to your performance. All of these side effects will hinder your long-term results, which is the opposite of what you want.
We get it: When you're in the groove of working out, taking a break from the gym can give you total #FOMO. In the end, though, it's exactly what your body needs in order to stay strong.
So, here are the deets: After you finish a workout, your body immediately goes into repair mode. It's pushing lactic acid out, while trying to absorb nutrients to repair your muscles post sweat sesh. In order to get the maximum benefits from your workout, you have to wait until these muscles are normalized before you intensely use them again.
But you still need to get moving. Cutting your normal routine's intensity and time in half on rest days increases blood flow to your muscles, causing them to receive nutrients faster and increases recovery time... as opposed to no movement at all.
So, how do you rest while being active?
1. Check in on your ticker.
There's a variety of things you can do to be active, while still keeping things mellow enough to rest those muscles.
A good rule of thumb is to make sure your heart rate doesn't go above 65 percent of your max during active rest days. You can calculate your heart rate here.
2. Roll out.
Foam rolling, yoga and stretching are definitely great go-tos for active rest days.
All of these activities will boost your recovery and stretch out tight muscles. We recommend trying out this great stretching routine.
3. Curb your run-thusiasm.
If you feeling like breaking more of a sweat on your active rest day, go for a long walk or a slower-paced jog.
Use your active rest day as a time to socialize by making a cute coffee shop or a yummy new brunch place your destination.
4. Soak up some goodness.
Remember that you still need to get your muscles some good nutrients while you recover: Yup, we're talking about nutrition.
Like we mentioned earlier, during recovery, your muscles are like sponges: They take in every ounce of goodness they can.
We love drinking a glass of wine on a warm summer evening as much as the next gal, and we're not saying you have to nix your weekly wine night for recovery purposes. Just remember to keep it lean, clean and green, as you would any other day of the week.
In fact, while following our Tone It Up Nutrition Plan, it's easy to nosh on tasty goodies that will still help you reach your fitness goals.
Still not sure how to get this whole active rest day thing down? We've got you covered.