What is Active Recovery?

Adam van Koeverden, Canada's gift to gay men and straight women everywhere.

You’ve probably heard a trainer or two mumble the words “active recovery”, but do you know what it means?

When you’re at the gym or training in your home, you probably push your body hard. But you can’t push your body hard all the time. You need to give it time to recover and for muscles to rebuild. No news here. However, recovery need not translate to a complete lack of physical activity.

Active recovery involves a low level of exertion during your “breaks” in between workouts; it’s light activity. Things like hiking, walking, or playing a game of pick-up with friends. For example, I may spend 90 minutes in the gym in the morning, but then go canoeing or swimming in the afternoon.

This sort of light activity actually speeds up your recovery by improving blood-flow to your muscles. There are also some psychological benefits, like better relaxation, according to an article in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

After a hard workout, walk it off. Literally. Or hit the pool, play sports with a friend – or anything else to keep your butt moving. You’ll recover faster and enjoy better relaxation.

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  1. I guess my post-workout, post-meal nap doesn’t qualify.

  2. I do this now, and it has made a significant difference in the way I recover. I have tried before where I don’t do anything, and I tend to be overly sore but the second I do a little swim, or some light jogging, I FEEL fantastic, and it feels great. Great Vids Davey, keep em coming.


  3. I’ve just started with a trainer, and after my first leg day, I was sore, but nothing crazy. The day after I went to the gym and hit the treadmill pretty hard, and today I’m definitely feeling it hardcore. Any suggestions as far as recouping faster now that the soreness is already here? I’ve tried to keep on moving and stay active, but the soreness is still here, no pain, just normal soreness.

    Thanks Davey, you rock!


  1. […] soreness through massage or the use of a foam roller. Some individuals and trainers prefer active recovery. Or just plenty of rest to give your body time to recover, repair and […]