Five Truth’s Friday: Active Rest Edition

Posted: June 21, 2013 in 5 Truth's Friday, Life, Running, Spinning, Swimming, Yoga
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Happy Friday All!

My posts this week have been a bit sporadic and not entirely formulated – what can I say?  I am not only trying to actively rest my body but also my mind.  Speaking of which…let’s get down to it.

What is Active Rest?

A common and effective treatment for many overuse injuries. Active rest involves performing light exercises (often swimming or cycling) that stimulate the recovery process without imposing undue stress on the injured body part. (Source)

So basically, I am working on preventing myself from over-training – like I did last year and it inevitably led to a torn tendon in my left foot.  That was no fun.  No fun at all.

Yesterday I ran 8 glorious miles with wonderful hills(again, I don’t know why it only shows 7 miles):

June 20

June 20

I felt good the whole time.  I think it helped that I only taught spin on Wednesday and didn’t double up like I originally planned.  I had also intended to double up today but I want to get in 14 miles on Sunday and I’d like to feel good through them so I am solely teaching spin today and tomorrow.  Running will wait until Sunday morning 🙂

In the mean time – I’m using Spin as an active rest.  I know – you probably think I’m crazy.  It’s okay, I’ve been called worse.

Here are some of the best ways to actively rest on days when you aren’t doing your “hard core” exercising:

1.  Swimming

As a former competitive (distance)swimmer – I actually don’t swim as often as I probably could or should.  Truth is – as much as I love the sport and love to coach it, it’s difficult for me to get in the water and just go unless I’m at a practice or training for something.  Occasionally I’ll get in and pop out 4K yards in an hour and be done for another three or four months – but I find that because of how much I did it in high school and college – I have plenty of time for everyone else to catch up with me 🙂

That being said – it is definitely one of the best ways to elevate your heart rate and get a good workout without actually taxing your muscles too much.  Even if all you do is 10 or 20 laps – you’re still doing something.  And the no-impact is great for rejuvenating your muscles when you’re sore.

2.  Walking

Walking is a great way to feel active even on days when you’re not actually planning on doing anything.  I find that even if I get out for a 10-20 minute walk on a rest day – or go shopping at the King of Prussia Mall (which is huge) – I get enough activity that it won’t over tax my muscles.  I usually schedule a walk the day before a big race/run.

3.  Yoga

Truth is – not all Yoga is created equal.  There’s Power Yoga, Hot Yoga, Bikram Yoga, Flow, Vinyasa, Chi Yoga, Alignment Yoga…you get the idea.  On a day off, for me, I’d likely do a power yoga because I still get the feeling of working hard and sweating.  If you’re really tired/sore – I’d likely recommend a calmer and gentler yoga.  The studio I work at offers a Gentle Yoga and an Inspirational Yoga which focuses more on holding the poses rather than flow.  I love flow.  I love having to work hard to push myself.  But that’s me….what do you think you’d like?

4.  Ride a bike – you know, like Miley Cyrus

And when I said ride – I obviously don’t mean be insane like me and use a Spinning class as your rest day – unless that is something you’re used to or comfortable with.  I have been using Spinning as a cross training exercise for at least 12 years so my body is used to it.  If you DID want to go to a spin class for a cross train – I’d say keep it light and easy.  Opt out of the heavy hills – you’ll still get a workout.  I promise.

5.  Lifting Weights

I know!  You’re thinking – but wait, that doesn’t sound like you’re resting.  If you’re sore – this is most likely not a great active rest activity for you.  But, if you do a LOT of cardio (like me) this is probably a good alternative on a rest day.  You’re still getting a chance to work your muscles and an effective weight lifting regimen will only take about 30 minutes (if you’re not at the gym to socialize – if you are, you’re on your own..and if you are…get away from me).

So there you have it – the five ways I actively rest/recover on days when I’m not training as hard.

What do you do for active rest???



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