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  7. Taking Advantage of Active Rest Days

How to make the most out of your lightest workouts.


Active rest differs from passive rest. On an active rest day, you work out but don’t do strenuous exercises. You merely get your heart rate up and your blood pumping. It’s what the body needs to recover between HIIT sessions and other intense workout routines. Passive rest days are where you don’t work out at all. Instead, you focus on giving your body the rest it needs, so you’re ready to work hard your next gym session.

If you’re the type of person that tends to overdo it during the week by exercising too much, you’ll find that you’ll see better results physically by giving yourself a break now and then. You should spend time recovering by actively and passively resting. Take an active rest day at least once a week for 15 minutes to 60 minutes.

In addition to benefitting you physically, it also helps clear your mind, give you energy, and keep you on track in meeting your fitness goals. It provides you with time to prep nutritious meals for the rest of the week. It also gives you a chance to socialize when there are no other opportunities to due to a busy schedule.

Things You Can Do on Active Rest Days

So, if you’re not sure what you can do on active rest days, don’t worry. The following list of suggestions serves as inspiration. You can refer to it whenever you need to for best results.

Here are some of the ways to work out but lightly:

  • Take your dog for a walk. It’s a great way to bond with Fido, and it allows you to move your body. Plan to walk around the neighborhood for at least 15 to 30 minutes. That way, you’re able to get the most benefit from the experience. It allows you and your dog’s muscles to warm up. Regular exercise benefits your pet, helps them keep weight off, and provides plenty of movement for their joints which become stiffer as they age.
  • Go hiking with friends. Gather a few people you haven’t seen in a while and go for a hike. Explore the local area on foot. Make sure that the terrain isn’t too difficult to climb. Bring a water bottle and a hat for protection from the sun. Have a great time catching up with your friends while actively taking a rest day. If you don’t have a trail in your neck of the woods, take a short drive to a neighboring city to explore theirs. You’ll get the benefit of being outdoors, visiting with friends, and traveling to a place you’ve never been before.
  • Play soccer in the park with a group of people. It can be a planned or unplanned event. Either way, make sure to enjoy yourself. You’ll have a blast kicking around a ball even if you don’t keep score. It’s an activity that people of all ages enjoy doing with you. Kids and even seniors oblige and play when asked. Keeping a soccer ball in the trunk of your vehicle ensures that you’ll have a good time whenever you’re spending time outside.
  • Jump on a trampoline. It’s a great way to keep the lymphatic system moving, which helps flush out any toxic substances or impurities in your body. It’s how you avoid having chronic inflammation. A mini trampoline provides the perfect equipment to do some rebounding on the days you’re not in the gym. It’s entertaining and a great stress reliever, too. There are entire bounce routines available that you stream that makes it look as though you’re in a completely different setting than your home. Exotic travel locations make the experience that much more relaxed.
  • Go dancing with friends. Have a good time with your friends. Go out to a nightclub and dance. Let off some steam and get in the groove. You don’t need to be the best dancer on the floor. Just move your body to the music. You can make this a weekly habit or go once a month, whichever option you prefer. Either way, you’ll get to spend more time with some of your favorite people and still get a good workout in while you’re at it.
  • Bring the kids to the playground. Give your children a chance to run off some excess energy. Have a blast playing with them. You don’t need to do any strenuous activity because movement remains minimal on active rest days. Simply swinging on a swing set or helping your child down the slide works. You can also play frisbee, toss a ball around or even play with them at the splash park. All of the activities are light enough to coax your body into restorative mode.

The idea is to keep yourself moving but not in a way that harms you or causes you to skip going to the gym later in the week. You’ll find that your family, friends, and pets appreciate your active rest days as much as you do. They get the benefit of your company as well as some much-needed exercise themselves. It’s a great way to promote a healthy lifestyle to everyone you know due to increased activity levels for even short amounts of time.

Rest and Recover Regularly for the Best Results

Make the most of your active rest days. Take advantage of your lighter workout routines. That way, you’re fully ready to embrace the harder workouts you have scheduled for the week. Your body has time to heal and prepare itself for more strenuous forms of exercise when you make active rest a part of your weekly norm.

There are so many activities that you can do in between strenuous exercising. Most include social scenarios. If you never seem to find enough time to spend with your family and friends, use your active rest days to plan an activity with the people you care about most. You won’t regret doing so because you’ll strengthen your body and the connection you have with your spouse, children, extended family, and best buds.