Training doesn’t make us fitter – recovery from training does. So, how do we recover? An easy jog or spin, or a lazy day on the sofa, asks Beate Stindt, chartered physiotherapist at Six Physio
ecovery can be either active or passive. Passive recovery is just that; total rest. A passive recovery day should not include any training. On these days you should rest and recover, which means no spring cleaning and no walking around the shops for the whole day.
An active recovery session usually involves your usual sport, be it running, swimming, cycling or yoga, but at an easy to moderate intensity. Active recovery has been likened to a short nap – the aim is to feel better at the end of your workout than you did at the beginning.
Training for an event places a huge amount of stress on your body and hard sessions result in the hormone cortisol being released. Cortisol is a natural anti-inflammatory but, left to hang around in the blood for too long, can negatively interfere with muscle regeneration.
One aim of active recovery is to clear the metabolic waste resulting from exercise, as well as providing a higher level of blood flow to muscles in need of nutrients, allowing them to repair themselves. While there is not yet conclusive evidence showing whether or not this really does result in quicker recovery, if you are going to try it, it’s important that it’s done correctly so as not to contribute to fatigue. Many athletes will use an active recovery session as a