Rest and recovery are essential for health, general wellbeing and sportive performance and should be a fix part of all training plans. Here are some of the most effective methods to recover after a fitness workout. Please choose recovery methods in accordance to your personal health situation and your individual training schedule. If you are unsure which recovery method suits you best or how to perform them correctly, please refer to a professional fitness consultant.
Performing an “active recovery” means that you follow a light workout which can e.g. consist of swimming, running, biking or yoga. During a light workout, which has a perceived exertion from low to medium intensity, you keep your heart rate around 50-60 % of your maximum heart rate. This promotes your blood flow, reduces muscle soreness, helps to clean your body system and to shorten recovery time.
Goals of temperature based therapy can vary depending on your health condition. Ice or cold compress is best for reducing swelling or inflammation. In contrast, heat therapy, sauna, hot baths or hot compress is recommended for muscle soreness and stiffness. Heat supports recovery, because it promotes vascular dilation and elimination of toxins.
Stretching is vital for every workout especially in the cooldown phase. Stretching allows more blood and oxygen to circulate into your muscles and promotes the release of muscle and soft tissue tension after a high intensity workout. Yoga is also a good form of physical activity that promotes stretching of big muscle groups and overall muscular balance. Having an effective stretch of your muscles at least twice a week supports recovery and prevents injury.
Massage therapy improves joint mobility, blood circulation and lymphatic system activity. Massage supports recovery by reducing muscle tension and pain. There are many different types of massage, such as classic massage, sports massage or Thai massage. The recommended type and frequency of massage depends on your overall health and training schedule.
Nutrition & Hydration
If you eat well and absorb enough fluids, you will recover faster and be less prone to injury. Absorbing enough fluid after exercise is important to compensate for the loss of body fluid and electrolytes. The supply of sufficient nutrients through a healthy diet supports the repair and development of cells, muscles, connective tissue and bones.
Resting is probably the simplest and most cost-effective method of recovery. After an intense workout, it is important to take a sufficient break from exercise. The length of the necessary break depends on your own health and training schedule. Too low rest periods can lead to overtraining, muscle tension and injuries. Make sure to take breaks between your workouts and accept this as an important part of your workout plan.