What is Active Recovery?
Active Recovery, or active rest, is the process the body and mind utilize to recover from intense exercise. This article will cover 2 forms of Active Recovery. First, there can be active recovery in between intense sets of resistance and interval cardiovascular training, allowing the heart rate to come down a little and the body to partially recover for another intense set. This helps to keep the body warm and allows the heart rate to come down slowly but not to the resting heart rate.
Second, there is also active recovery in between intense workouts, which is crucial because the body is not capable of pushing to the limit all the time. The body should do some form of low impact movement to allow the muscles, joints, and energy systems to replenish and recover. However, doing nothing immediately after and in between high intensity workouts is not going to support the recovery process very much and in fact might even take longer for the body to recover.
I use a combination of walking, T’ai Chi, Qi Gong, and meditation because it is the simplest, most powerful, and most effective way to recover. Walking is a great way to loosen up the muscles and get rid of soreness and lactic acid. T’ai Chi and Qi Gong will cleanse the internal organs such as the liver, kidneys, and lungs while strengthened the body as it goes through the recovery process. Plus the mind is getting relaxed and calm at the same time with the meditation.
Mindfulness is important because it teaches you how to pay attention to the body at all times, while in active rest and also during intense exercise, which is key to know what’s going on with the body while pushing to the limit. How high is the HR? Are there any unusual aches and pains? How much are you sweating? How does the body feel overall from the toes up the spine to the head?
By doing the T’ai Chi and Qi Gong movements and simple meditations for a minute in between intense cardio and strength work, it gives you the opportunity to stay “mindful” and in the moment as you go through a checklist of the body for critical feedback during your workout. I often see way too many people in their workouts, many with trainers, just keep pushing hard and actually mindlessly escaping from the body. There is no balance in that form of training and often results in over training and injury.
T’ai Chi Chih! Joy Thru Movement - 19 movements and one pose that circulate and balance the CHI in our bodies. Non martial art, just soft flowing movements based on over 5000 yrs of Chinese Medicine and Cosmology. This is my favorite form of Active Recovery after hard workouts and in between intense training sessions.
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