Once people begin to exercise, the habit can easily turn into addiction.
Being adamant about keeping your body healthy and focusing on reshaping your frame into a fitter version of you is an honorable undertaking, as long as it is kept within the realms of moderate.
Haven’t you heard the old proverb: even too much of a good thing is a bad thing?
After an intensive workout, your body needs time to recover, and sometimes even a single day is not enough.
If you feel as if you went a few steps too far, here are eight of the best activities to do on active recovery days.
Stretch like your life depends on it
Stretching before exercising is optional, but stretching after exercising is crucial.
If you are in the recovery week, begin your every morning with light stretching so lymph and blood can course better through your muscle tissue and feed it with necessary nutrients for recovery.
The process goes both ways – regular stretching will help your body get rid of toxins accumulated through exercise too.
Do a bit of meditation
Meditation is a universal remedy for fitness enthusiasts.
You don’t need to have any sort of skill to practice this ancient art, which makes it so enticing to so many people.
Of course, in order to achieve the real Zen state, one needs to practice meditation for long – sometimes, years on end.
However, the benefits are quite noticeable – your body will recover from any condition quicker if you practice meditation.
Rely on tai chi
Tai chi is a beloved discipline because it is essentially a low-impact form of martial arts – it helps you develop body awareness and strength while you still practice a form of meditation through these slow movements.
The scientific research has shown that tai chi also has a lot of pain-relieving benefits, which is a godsend for your sore body during recovery days.
Watch what you eat
If you want to speed up your recovery and make the best out of your newly stretched-out body, you can start using resistant starch foods in your smoothies, which boast antioxidants that penetrate deep into the muscle tissue and help fight inflammation.
At the end of your recovery period, you will come back stronger than ever before.
Avoid eating dairy products over the course of several days and if you are not a vegetarian (or vegan), freshly prepared meat is your new best friend.
If you are vegetarian, appropriate supplements plus edible mushrooms are the best course of action.
Watch when you eat
Of course, when it comes to the recovery period, it is not only about what you eat, it’s also about when you eat.
For example, it would be unwise to gobble up too much right after the exercise (even though your stomach would wholeheartedly disagree).
Wait at least two hours before your first sizeable meal and arrange your meals and snacks evenly throughout the next couple of days.
Your body will get used to these intervals and act accordingly – leading to greater benefits when it comes to retention of vitamins and minerals.
Add yoga to the mix
Of course, if you were to ask people worldwide whether they are practicing tai chi or yoga, we can all pretty much put our money on the latter one as the more frequent answer.
After all, yoga has been the “old friend” of fitness for a long time and a cross-generational discipline practiced by everyone from age 7 to age 107.
The most striking benefit of yoga is the fact that it teaches you proper breathing techniques, which promotes a better circulation of oxygen throughout your body.
Yes, you can go swimming during your recovery period. In fact, swimming is one of those rare few activities you can enjoy without the fear that it can wear you down.
It is a low-impact exercise option, just as tai chi or yoga.
However, due to the fact that your body is in a simulated weightless state, your joints and knuckles will relax a lot faster.
If you are an avid nature enthusiast, you can mix the best of both world – the useful and the enjoyable – and go on a hiking adventure during your recovery period.
Light exercise you’ll get from hiking will be further supplemented with the beautiful natural sites that surround you.
You will not only get a kick out if it, but your immunity will too. If you spend some time surrounded with lush greenery, your body will recover a lot faster.
The scientific studies have shown that people who spend at least thirty minutes surrounded by greenery once a week have a better chance of recovery from health issues, or have a more robust immunity altogether.
When one falls into the constant circle of pain and gain with their exercise routines, they can hardly be blamed for it.
After all, the potent mixture of serotonin and adrenaline (not to mention other happiness hormones) can create the intoxicating feeling of joie de vivre and sharpness.
In essence, the change of chemical makeup in the body is what turns us into fitness addicts, but in order to stay in shape properly, we have to account for the recovery time.
Author: Olivia WIlliams Jones
Olivia is psychologist and entrepreneur from Brisbane. Mother of two beautiful children and proud owner of two silly boxer dogs. She is passionate writer, a traveler and conscious consumer, seeking healthy and sustainable products to incorporate into the lives of her family. Her motto is “Be the change you want to see in the world”.