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How to Plan a Recovery Day

Hey, it’s Jennifer. Today I want to talk about recovery days and what those could look like.

I get asked a lot, “what should I do on my recovery day? I know what my workouts should look like and how to work really hard in the gym or on a run or whatever. But then it feels weird, just doing nothing.”

And so you’re right, if you’ve been pushing it trying to get stronger or faster, or whatever your goal is, doing absolutely nothing or just sitting on the couch on a recovery day isn’t going to be super helpful or feel that good. So here are a few things to consider when you’re planning a recovery day.

  1. Do something you enjoy. Hopefully, you just enjoy whatever physical activities you’re doing in general. But if you like to be outside, go walk the dog or take an easy bike ride. Do something that’s not too challenging or fatiguing, but gets your muscles working and just feels enjoyable and fun.
  2. Do something that makes your body feel good. For example, if your feet are sore, maybe going for a light jog isn’t what you want to do. Personally, I feel good doing 10 to 20 minutes of yoga. Just clearing some headspace, getting my body moving, but nothing too hard. Most of the stuff is just sitting or lying down on the ground. But it just feels good to get moving and stretch a little bit. So it’s something that feels good. Not something where you’re like “oh man, like I really don’t want to do this because I’m sore.”
  3. Recovery days are a great time to work on your sticky areas with mobility. So if you’re a desk worker, and you’re sitting all day and you have pretty tight hip flexors, it might be a nice time to do some foam rolling or some gentle stretching. Or try just some hip mobility stuff. And then in addition to mobility, just some really gentle, light, non-fatiguing, not heavy, muscle activation. So again, going back to the desk worker example, maybe doing some bridges that open up the hip area and then work the glutes. Nothing super weighted or anything like that, just kind of getting things moving would be helpful.

So something you enjoy doing, something that feels good on your body for that day, working on your mobility, and then really gentle strength muscle activation. So definitely not doing nothing. Try to hit at least one to two recovery days during the week. I know a lot of people feel like “oh, but it’s a day where I can be grinding it out and working harder in the gym.”  And that they are losing progress time, but actually your body needs that time to recover.

It’s why it’s called a recovery day. It needs to repair all of the little micro tears in your muscles. That’s what being sore is. So you’ll find that if you can take those recovery days, you’re going to be able to do more and be more productive in your workouts or your runs or whatever you’re working towards.

So just my two cents on recovery days. Make sure you take them and make sure they feel good on your body. Thanks

Our Mission:

Here at Peak Endurance Performance & Physical Therapy we help active adults in the Madison Area get back to the activities they love without pain or limitations. We see people of all ages, ability levels, and individuals trying to get back to a multitude of movements including: getting back into running, women postpartum, CrossFit athletes, climbers, gymnasts, wrestlers, overhead athletes, and your recreational weekend warrior. If you’re looking to get back to the activities that give you meaning, relieve stress, and make you feel like you again, feel free to reach out below and we’ll see if we’re the right fit for you.