How do you ‘actively rest”? Isn’t that somewhat of a contradiction? Not in this case. Active Rest is an important part of a training plan for athletes and for fitness buffs. What is active rest?
“A period of light training where the goal is to recover physically and mentally from previous training” Periodization Breakthrough
Sometimes we tend to forget that we can only pound on our bodies so long. If we don’t give out bodies a chance to recover occasionally, it can lead to overtraining. This leads to a whole host of medical symptoms including elevated blood pressure, elevated heart rate, and irritability. It also leads to a decrease in athletic performance, something that none of us want. Of course, most of us don’t want to just sit around and do nothing either. That’s were active rest come into play.
Active rest is not rest at all. It is just a period of lighter training. It can be a very beneifical addition to your program. If you’ve ever been through a long period of hard training, you know how physically and mentally taxing it can be. Active rest gives you the chance to change things up which will help you mentally. I remember reading about Arnold Schwarzenegger a few years back. The story was referring to his first career, bodybuilding. He said that after he competed in a bodybuilding competition he would often feel mentally and physically drained. He would then go through a period of playing beach volleyball, biking, etc. He stayed active but it enabled him to refresh mentally and physically. When he started to get that “itch” to go back to the gym, he knew that his body was ready. It was just a simple plan for active rest.
My next post will deal with some of the science behind active rest and why it’s important physically. Check back for it.