Have you wondered how to max your recovery? What the difference is between active and passive approaches? Even, if you really need to spend time at less than full throttle?
Recovery allows your body to restore its energy stores, clear blood lactate, and promote physiological recuperation. The question is: How can you do this best? Understanding active versus passive recovery will help.
What is active recovery?
Active recovery involves performing at a lower intensity. Rather than lounging on the couch, gentler movement is enjoyed. For example, one study investigating recovery used a slow jog at 50% of participants VO2max as the active recovery option.
What is passive recovery?
Rest periods, as the name suggests, involve periods free from activity. These spells do not elevate your heart rate. This is akin to passive recovery; just allowing your body rest, your musculoskeletal system to be still.
What are the benefits of active recovery?
Active recovery is well-loved in the exercise community and with good reason! It delivers a range of important benefits. When compared to passive recovery, research has shown that active recovery leads to:
- Lower lactate concentration
- Reduced Rated Perceived Exertion (RPE) (exercise that feels subjectively easier)
- An initial elevation, which may aid lactate removal, followed by a decline in heart rate
- The maintenance of better average power output
- Greater endurance adaptations
- A positive impact on delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS)
Plus, a small study published on ACE Fitness found that:
When passive recovery took place between running bouts, the time to fatigue dropped by about 52 seconds in the second trial. When participants used active recovery, time to fatigue dropped by only 18 seconds from the first bout to the next.
In short, active recovery during a session allowed participants to exert themselves for longer.
What are the benefits of passive recovery?
Passive recovery is helpful following injury. When muscle has been torn or joints have been sprained, rest, particularly of the involved part, is often needed.
For people who have overtrained, are experiencing strong fatigue, or need a mental break, a period of non-engagement may provide respite.
Photo Credit: The Physio Company
Are there any potential problems with active recovery?
To answer this, consider these questions:
Have you decided what you wish to achieve through exercise? Do you have a sole focus on athletic ability or achieving your ideal of physical perfection? Or do you want to stay healthy and well, filled with vitality and peace of mind?
A steadfast dedication to a rigid diet and exercise regime will benefit from well-considered active recovery periods, within and in between workouts. But if you seek the latter, balance and holistic health, active recovery may be less valuable.
If you’re not competing at an elite level or driven to push the edge of what’s possible, relax. Absolutely feel free to incorporate active recovery but allow yourself the freedom not to. Enjoy rest days without getting caught up in details. This can create unnecessary stress.
Are there any potential problems with passive recovery?
Again, it depends on your aim…
If you wish to carve the “perfect” silhouette or max your performance, active recovery will be an important weapon in your armory. If you opt for passive recovery, instead, you’ll lose benefits including reduced lactate concentration, less DOMS, perceived ease, and higher output.
Hit me up: Examples of active recovery
So, how can you incorporate active recovery?
It depends on the exercise you participant in...
If you’re a swimmer, on your recovery days practice slower, smooth strokes. Balanced breaths. Complete less laps.
If you love to hit the pavement, jog at up to 50% of your max. Cover less miles. Spend less time.
Follow your high-intensity training or heavy weights workout with a gradual cool down and perform gentler activities on your recovery days. Maybe cycle, stretch, practice Tai Chi or Yoga, or walk. These are each enjoyable ways to keep your body moving without force and extreme vigor.
Photo Credit: Healthline
Hit me up: Examples of passive recovery
As defined by Dictionary.com, passive means simply “not participating readily or actively; inactive.” This is how passive recovery is: restful.
But there is one form of passive activity that very much matters. Sleep. Unless something is amiss, you won’t be engaged in much physical movement whilst you slumber. None-the-less, it is involved with your physique and fitness.
An article published in the journal, Medical Hypotheses, posited that:
Sleep debt decreases the activity of protein synthesis pathways and increases the activity of degradation pathways, favoring the loss of muscle mass and thus hindering muscle recovery after damage induced by exercise [and] injuries.
Sleeping poorly might trigger muscle loss and impede recuperation.
To learn more about why sleep is crucial, read our article, 7 reasons why sleep is important for your health.
How to boost recovery with a single supplement?
As with all things health, taking a science-backed approach is multi-pronged. This is no different for recovery. While passive and active recovery strategies play key roles, so does the correct form of supplementation.
AminoLoad supports muscle growth, enhances strength, boosts endurance, and aids recovery. With branched chain amino acids, essential amino acids, non-essential amino acids, minerals, and more, this incredible product is designed to:
- Increase protein synthesis
- Prevent muscle cramping and soreness
- Promote blood flow
- Bolster energy
- Relieve anxiety and stress
- Improve performance
- Boost mood
- Encourage the growth and repair of muscle tissue
One scoop mixed with water consumed during or after your workout and on recovery days will help you maximize potential performance and aid recovery. Get started with AminoLoad now.
Recovery strategies are important.
Time spent determining your aims will enable you to decide how strict you need to be. Then you can choose the approaches that will work best for you.
For example, if you decide you need a well-structured active recovery plan you can use science-backed and regimented approaches.
If your aim is to feel well, a non-flexible program is less necessary. Yoga or walking may suffice.
Regardless of your needs, there are approaches to help you meet your goals and stay healthy during the process. Enjoy!