How to Take an Active Rest Day

how to take an active rest day

Does this sound like you?

You work out as hard as you can five or six days a week, making sure to include all the good stuff—intervals, squats, pull ups, push ups, and other good-for-you whole body exercises.

You make sure and walk or bike when you can, and if you don’t live in a city, you make a special effort to walk your dog or go for a stroll in the outdoors at least a couple of times a week.

Basically, you’re pretty active.

But what do you do on your off days?

Why You Shouldn’t Work Out Every Day

As tempting as it may be for super active people to train every day of the week, it’s extremely important that you take at least one day off of strenuous training a week.

Why?

Because when you’re working out—making your muscles scream and sweat pour down your forehead—tiny tears are forming in your muscles. This is a good thing, because once they repair, you’ll be stronger and fitter than you were before.

But that’s the key: your muscles need to rest and repair.

Rest Vs. Active Rest

No, taking a rest day doesn’t mean you should be sitting on the couch eating potato chips all day long. This, as you might imagine, won’t do you much good.

Instead, an active rest day is meant to be a light or easy day where you’re still moving, but not at the intensity level you normally move.

According to theathletesedge.com, active rest:

“Involves performing light exercises (often swimming or cycling) that stimulate the recovery process without imposing undue stress on the injured body part.”

Taking an active rest day will quicken your recovery, making you feel stronger and faster when you’re back in workout-mode—as long as you don’t overdo it.

Plus, it’ll help you feel less sore and stiff after an extra tough workout day.

What Exactly is an Active Rest Day?

There are many ways you can spend your active rest days, but here are a few suggestions:

  • Go for an easy hike
  • Go for a light swim
  • Take a bike ride
  • Do some light yoga or stretching
  • Take a walk
  • Run around with your dog/kids
  • Do some sort of fun sport or activity (just don’t play too hard or it won’t count)
  • Surf, paddleboard, boogie board, throw a frisbee — just play.

Basically, get moving — but not too much.

What do you do on your active rest days?

9 thoughts on “How to Take an Active Rest Day”

  1. I’m starting to skateboard(longboard, actually). I’m an absolute beginner. I thought I’d play around on that today after I get off work for my active rest day. I can alternate which leg I use to pump the board in order to work both sides of my core. Does that qualify?

  2. So I’m an athlete I have practice for a couple of hours 6 days a week and I also have weights at 5:30 every morning where we either do arms, legs, plyos, and include cardio with every day. I like to run 3 miles on my rest day. It’s not a very fast pace, it’s takes me about 30 minutes and I’m not exhausted afterwards. Is this too much for my rest day? Should I cut back? Most days I’m up at 5 and between weights class and practice o don’t have much down time throughout the day.

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