Working out after a workout helps your muscles recover faster and better
Work out after a workout? #keepgoing Yup, you heard that right! It’s totally a thing and it’s a pretty good one at that too because it helps prevent extended muscle fatigue while improving your overall performance. Here’s the low-down you need to know.
Active recovery refers to a low-intensity workout that you engage in after a session of strenuous workout, with the aim of helping your muscles recover better and faster. Depending on how fit you are and how intense that first workout was, active recovery can go for anything between 15 and 40 minutes.
Sore muscles, general fatigue, jelly legs, tight hamstrings … these can occur following a punishing workout and depending on the intensity, may last up to days. Sure, you’d think that it’s best to lay low and be sedentary until your body recharges, right? In fact, you should be doing the opposite! Get moving so as to keep the blood flowing and help your muscles recover. That’s why it’s known as active (as opposed to passive, i.e. inactivity) recovery, and provides the following benefits:
- Reduce lactic acid build-up in the muscles
- Keep muscles flexible
- Flush out toxins
- Reduce soreness
- Rebuild muscles
- Maintain training consistency
There are three ways you can use active recovery to help you:
You’ve huffed and you’ve puffed and you’re done for the day. Instead of stopping completely, wrap up with an exercise whereby you’re working at no more than 50% of your maximum effort. Gently and slowly does it.
In between interval training
You don’t have to wait until the end of your workout to do active recovery, you can slot it into your circuit exercise. About halfway through, take some time off for a recovery exercise and then jump back into your sets.
On rest days
If your body is still sore from yesterday’s workout, that’s all the more reason to do an active recovery exercise. Work through the pain, baby! Choose something easy and light – you basically just want to be on your feet and moving, not sweating buckets.
An ideal active recovery is something that’s low impact, promotes blood flow, helps improve flexibility, and can be done at a slow and sustained pace. Popular exercises include yin yoga, yoga flow, tai chi, Pilates, foam rolling, walking, jogging, swimming, cycling, stationary biking and rowing.