7 Trainer-Approved Restorative Workouts

Rest and recover.

the best restorative workouts.


Also called “active recovery,” a restorative workout can help your body rejuvenate after higher-intensity exercises like HIIT and running, says trainer Carrie Hall, CPT. Try a restorative workout 1 to 2 times a week as a way to rest, stretch, and give yourself a much-needed break.



A gentle 30-minute bike ride is a great way to get the blood pumping between bigger workouts, Hall says. Aim to use 60% of your usual effort so that you don’t overdo it.

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Tai Chi

Practice Tai Chi on off-days and you’ll help maintain your strength, flexibility, and balance, Hall says. The flowing movements of this Chinese martial art can ease sore muscles, too.



Have access to a pool? Then hop on in. Swimming laps gets your heart rate up for a great workout, Hall says, while floating provides reduced gravitational demand on muscles and joints.

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Foam Rolling

Trainer Nicole Gauthier likes foam rolling on your active rest days. The reason? Applying pressure with a foam roller helps massage the myofascia, which can help release tense muscles. “Rolling should not be painful and light pressure is plenty to be effective,” she says.

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Any form of yoga is restorative thanks to all the stretching. But for one move that’s particularly great, Kate Lombardo of YogaRenew recommends propping your legs up on a wall for five minutes “to calm the nervous system and activate the ‘rest and restore’ response.”

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Pilates is another fantastic option that focuses on lengthening muscles through strength and stability,” says trainer Ryan Kennedy. Creating balance in your body through Pilates is also a nice way to complement your overall routine.

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Get your heart rate up with a treadmill workout or go for a casual stroll outside. Gauthier recommends starting at a moderate pace for 15 minutes and moving up to 30 minutes, or walking hills. It’s your day off, so focus on exactly what your body needs.

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