All feature very chill movement.
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Active recovery is any type of low-impact movement you do on rest days to help your muscles recover, says trainer Ellen Dyverfeldt. It allows your body to take a break while still getting to move. Here, 7 active recovery workout ideas trainers recommend as chill ways to exercise.
One of the best examples of active recovery is yoga. “It stretches and strengthens your muscles and helps your body become more resilient by improving range of motion,” says yoga pro Emily Chen. It also reduces muscle soreness so you’ll feel ready for your next big workout.
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Walking is another good option, and one you can easily do at any time and without any equipment. You get to move your body, which is the key element, Dyverfeldt says. But it’s also an excuse to get fresh air, clear your head, and move at your own pace.
If you need a break from your usual structured workouts, put on some music and start dancing, suggests kinesiologist Dasha Maslennikova. Dancing is fun, puts you in a good mood, and gets your body moving in all kinds of different ways.
Maslennikova also suggests breathwork, an active form of breathing that relaxes your nervous system and puts it into recovery mode. If you don’t feel like “working out,” spend your rest day taking deep breaths to help your body wind down between tougher workout days.
Swimming is an ideal choice if you tend to go for high-impact workouts like running or HIIT, Dyverfeldt says. Gently paddling around a pool gives your muscles and joints a break from added pressure, and the movement offers a full-body stretch.
To ensure your Pilates class counts as an active recovery workout, go for one that’s slower or lower effort, Dyverfeldt says. Whether you take a class IRL or pull up a video on YouTube, remember to take it easy and focus on stretching.
Good, old-fashioned stretching counts as active recovery, too. “It helps to improve range of motion and flexibility,” says certified personal trainer Secoy Reeves. “It’s also a great way to prevent injuries.” Stretch your arms, hamstrings, quads — whatever feels good.