Continuing on with recovery methods, we focus on the idea that daily exercise has its merits. Some athletes, such as bodybuilders, believe that a muscle needs to be rested for x amount(usually 24-48) hours before it can be effectively trained again. Some findings have found that if active recovery is used, the performance of an athlete’s body will be returned to optimum levels sooner than with passive, resting recovery.
Increased blood and oxygen flow is the most effective way to carry waste products such as lactic acid away from the muscles. There is a fine line that must be observed, however, between submaximal, non-intense activity and intense aerobic exercise that will further stress the body instead of help it to recover.
Things to watch out for when you train with active recovery:
Be wary of injury Injury can be a clear sign of overtraining. Read: Don’t overtrain!! Poor technique, improper rest and diet issues can also affect recovery, but a tired muscle that gets put to the test day after day after day has no time to recover.
Active recovery is not training Active recovery is supposed to be easy. It is not neccessary to push yourself through active recovery to “improve” every session, that is not the point of “recovering”. Rest physically as you break down your last workout mentally and prepare for your next one. Exercise your mind while resting your body will prepare you two-fold for your next physical challenge.
Don’t be in the gym moving weight, try an aerobic activity instead. Pick a sport and go play it for a while. Hockey, basketball, squash work fine as do bike riding, jogging, or swimming. Simply do some push ups and sit ups to get the blood flowing, it will do wonders. Blood flow will remove toxins and lactic acid away from affected muscle areas, leaving them refreshed and ready for more action. Aerobic activity will help to build your heart stronger, as well as improve your overall fitness base.
Scientific studies have show a variety of results, but the thing that seems most clear is that active recovery is a tool that helps to greatly affect performance during a workout. In one test, sprinters were measured for maximum power output while completing sprints mere minutes apart. Those that performed active recovery seemed to continue to provide higher power output measurements than their passive recovery counterparts.
Read Active recovery: A three-fold breakdown at abcbodybuilding.com.
Conversely, in another active recovery study of elite female soccer players, tests completed over a 72 hour period did not show that active recovery helped anymore than passive recovery by the end of the third day. Both test groups had returned to pre-test levels of performance.
Read Rest vs. active recovery at evidencebasedfitness.blogspot.ca
It has also been asserted that low-intensity exercise is best and results for active recovery were more favorable when the athletes trained at lower intensity levels. When the recovery workout gets too strenuous, the body is stressed rather than rested.
Active recovery may be best for athletes during interval training or competition, such as BMX racers. A BMX race consists of a number of short anaerobic sprints throughout the day of competition leading up to the final. Active recovery such as stationary cycling at 25% of maximum output between motos can help assure that athlete muscles “stay warm” and ready to perform at an optimal level.