Even on rest days, it’s important to keep moving. As tempting as it is to sit on the couch + watch Netflix all day [we’ve all been there ; )], rest days are the perfect days to work on improving mobility + flexibility, which will help relieve muscles that are sore from all that lifting // running! Since it is a rest day, though, you want to keep movement low impact. Here are some light activities you can do that will let your body recover without sitting still all day —
Foam rolling is great for increasing your range of motion, relieving sore muscles, increasing blood flow, ++ preventing injuries. It’s commonly done before + after workouts, but it’s great on the days you don’t workout too! There are actually specific ways to foam roll on your rest days that are different than if you were to foam roll on a training day. Foam rollers are fairly inexpensive, so there’s no need to go get an expensive message for proper recovery [although you can certainly #treatyoself every once in awhile ; )].
YOGA // STRETCHING
There are so many different kinds of yoga, from Bikram [hot] yoga, to Hatha, to Ashtanga, that it’s easy to find your *flow.* Yoga is perfect for an active rest day because it improves your flexibility over time while also building strength, while lifting may build strength but hinder flexibility. It also boosts immunity, keeps your bones healthy, improves focus + mental clarity, builds self-awareness, ++ lowers stress levels. You don’t even need to go to a yoga class to reap the benefits — doing basic stretches + poses for a few minutes every hour or so will keep your blood flowing + your mind sharp. : )
GO FOR A WALK
If you like to use your rest days as a day to catch up on schoolwork or job assignments, taking a break to go for a walk around your neighborhood can help you avoid sitting at your desk all day. If the weather doesn’t agree with your walking plans, hop on a treadmill or walk around your house. If you work on an assignment for too long, it can become frustrating. Taking a break to walk around + pull yourself away from your work may seem counterproductive, but it will give you the break you need to return to your work refreshed + with new perspectives ++ ideas!
In the spirit of *spring cleaning,* getting up to vacuum, dust, do laundry, ++ organize cabinets is a way to declutter your space + keep your body moving. Not only will you physically feel good from keeping active, but clearing out your space will give you more room to breath + get rid of some mental clutter as well. : )
Meal prepping isn’t only a way to prepare for the week ahead — it also keeps you moving! Standing while cutting veggies + mixing sauces or salad dressings will keep your blood flowing, + going from the stove to the fridge to the spice rack will have you reaching your step goal in no time. You’ll get a week’s worth of meals prepared while staying off the couch. Blasting music in your kitchen is optional, but highly recommended. ; )
Whether you train three days a week or six, you need to schedule a rest day into your workout routine to give your body time to recover. Adequate sleep + rest are key to improving your overall health + fitness. Without allowing your body to recover, it can easily become overworked. However, our bodies weren’t designed to be stationary all day. You don’t need to workout at a high intensity every day — you can show your body a little love + take a [slightly active] day off. ; )
++Ashleigh Monaco [ashvm_inchaarg] // University of Iowa