Active recovery – low-intensity exercise during periods of rest between moderate to intense workouts – a small number of research findings say it positively provides benefit while a small amount of research says it is not yet possible to conclude whether or not there is significant benefit. While it is clear that research is still growing, there are studies that have pointed to positive effects of including active recovery in training cycles.
In the Bonfire program, as we recognize that movement is a nutrient – a requirement for our survival and quality of life – active recovery is the recommended approach for rest days. In the words of Dr. Stephen, exercise is required “only on the days that you eat.”
The concept of increased circulation delivered by lower intensity movement on recovery days providing nutrition and waste removal through increased blood flow to recovering muscles and tissues makes good sense, as does the thought that movement on rest days can provide a psychological boost to recovering athletes (no matter what level of movers we are, we are all athletes by design). While quantifiable evidence for these concepts will be left to those conducting research on the subject, what follows are some reasons Bonfire Health provides active recovery programming for rest days.
- Complete rest is best achieved in a nap and/or consistent 8+ hours of scheduled sleep.
- Many of the “resting” postures of modern culture are toxic and detrimental to overall wellness so low-intensity movement will prevent spending more time seated or slouched than is prudent.
- Movement is one of the most effective stress reducers (and stress doesn’t care if it’s a workout day or a rest day – it will make its way in).
- Opting to manage the ache of a good workout on a recovery day may reduce the “suffering through it” on the next workout day. Results will vary for each person.
- Much of modern society spends too much time lounging in front of screens (TV, computer, mobile devices, etc) anyway – active recovery will provide something different to focus the eyes on.
The bottom line is, a healthy Bonfire lifestyle requires movement daily. Even when recovering, a strong Bonfire requires FUEL, AIR, and SPARK. Active recovery is an important part of keeping us thriving.