When it comes to exercise, the recovery period is just as important as the workout. Ignoring the body's need to rest and heal can create long-lasting problems for your health.
So, how do you make sure you're properly recovering from a workout? What types of recovery are there? And are there certain tools that can help you with the process?
Turns out that there are two major types of recovery: active and passive recovery. While both methods are quite different, each also has its own unique benefits. Read on to learn how to utilize these benefits, and how to use tools like massage guns to enhance your recovery.
What Is Active Recovery?
Active recovery is a form of low-intensity movement that often follows a workout. You can think of it as an easier exercise that provides a "cool down" period before you rest completely.
The key to an effective active recovery is to make sure that it's less strenuous than your workout was. This will look different for every person, since there is no universal "cool down" activity. For example, an Olympian's active recovery may feel like a full workout to non-athletes.
Some common active recovery exercises may include light jogging, walking, cycling, or yoga. Again, the key is to not over-exert yourself during these activities.
Light exercises aren't the only part of an active recovery, however. Using tools like massage guns and foam rollers can help fight muscle fatigue.
Using a massage gun is extra helpful since you can usually provide it with your own custom settings.
Active recovery can also be used beyond post-workout scenarios. For instance, many athletes use active recovery exercises between sets during circuit training. On rest days, it can also be useful to engage in light exercise or stretching to fight residual soreness.
What Are the Benefits of Active Recovery?
Studies show that athletes' performance is better when using active recovery techniques. One paper found that athletes swam faster when their workouts included active recovery.
Other benefits include the loss of blood lactate, which cuts down on muscle fatigue. Active recovery also increases lymph function and improves your endurance. Notably, it also gives you time to practice your exercise techniques at a slower pace.
Using a massage gun can help with tight muscles and reduce inflammation. It can also flush out fluids that have built up in your muscles, reducing fatigue.
What Is Passive Recovery?
While active recovery has many uses, passive recovery is equally important. This type of recovery is inactive: just rest and relaxation.
Sleeping, lying down, and taking a rest day are all a part of passive recovery. There is some overlap, however: Some people still include muscle massages as a part of this process.
What Are the Benefits of Passive Recovery?
Passive recovery allows your muscles to heal and repair themselves without interruption. Using a muscle massage gun can help combat soreness when healing, too. You can also use this time to recuperate mentally, as many workouts can be stressful or intense.
Which Type of Recovery Should I Choose?
You can't replace one type of recovery with the other. Active recovery may have long-term benefits, but passive recovery helps to heal muscle.
It's best to work active recovery into your post-workout plans, but don't forget to take time to rest, too! That way, your fitness routine can enjoy the benefits of both active and passive recovery.
Regardless of which method you choose, massage guns are essential for post-workout recovery. Want to know more about how massage guns can increase blood flow and relieve tension? Check out our percussion therapy products!