5 Easy Exercises for Your Active Rest Day

Happy young sportswoman resting and drinking water on stairs in gym“Active Rest”. Yes, it may sound a tad contradictory, but muscles need time to grow and recover. And we’re sure you’ve seen it before, “muscles are built at rest”; but that doesn’t mean you need to lie in bed all day, waiting for results to occur. Active rest can be defined as a workout far easier compared to your normal gym routine. Lighter weight, less reps, and a little context.

If you’re just starting your fitness journey, start slow from the outset. Take time to understand your body pre- and post-workout. The stress of adding too much, too soon may outpace your body’s ability to adapt to exercise. Because of this, it is vital to consider your current fitness level to fully comprehend what is appropriate for your future active rest days.

Rule of Thumb: Exercise qualifies as active rest if you feel better after exercising compared to before you started.

Our bodies are able to withstand a lot of stress, and certainly need to be worked to trigger the growth most look for. Yes, you know your body better than anyone, but a little muscle soreness certainly won’t hurt you.

What time is it? Oh, time to get some ACTIVE REST!

Arguably the most beneficial of the group, due to its ability to work multiple facets of the body at one time, Yoga works at harmonizing the system of development for the body, mind, and spirit. Going through a full-circuit of the body’s range of motion, Yoga provides a nice, little trifecta — sweat, stretch and meditate — all at once.

Continued practice of yoga will lead to a sense of peace, well-being, and also a feeling of being at one with the environment. Take a class and experience its bevy of benefits.

People working out on row machines in fitness studioRowing works the legs and upper body, while also incorporating some understated core work. Due to its ability to target the lats, rowing also helps to improve posture. Looking to burn some calories? Well, rowing can burn more calories than most other endurance activities.

Even better? No matter the workout you plan on doing, rowing gets the blood pumping and helps to wake and warm up your muscles; making it a good opener AND closer.

Calf Raises
An exercise that is oft-forgotten, but has a multitude of benefits. Regular calf raises (and its many variations) can strengthen the gastroc and soleus muscles, the main components of the calf. Strengthening these two muscles will, in turn, strengthen the Achilles tendon as well. Ever see runners with the heart-shaped calves? Yeah, they do a ton of calf raises, and well, they also do some…

This low-impact workout can improve circulation to the lower body and improve cardiovascular health without causing stress to the joints. Have a playlist that really gets you motivated? Put your earbuds in and get ready to get your sweat on! Our Cycle class utilizes different riding positions and terrains to enable you to cycle more effectively and more efficiently.

Oh, and bring a towel and water to class — you’ll certainly need it!

Group of people at the gym stretchingSure, this may not pass as an ‘exercise’, but the benefits are bountiful. Some pooh-pooh the idea of stretching as a whole, but if you’re looking to keep your body running at optimal performance levels, stretching is the way to go. The benefits? Whew. Get ready for them.

Improved Range of Motion

  1. A heightened range of motion is a huge benefit for individuals of all types. According to Mayo Clinic, when range of motion is increased, performance is also automatically enhanced — allowing you to do additional exercises and improving your overall weight and rep load.

Decreased Stress

  • Lingering stress can create a number of undesirable problems in the body, including increased feelings of anxiety, lethargy and tension. Just a short amount of time spent stretching can help you to feel rejuvenated and restored.

Increased Flexibility

  • Flexibility is one of the main foundations of fitness, right next to cardiovascular conditioning and wide-ranging strength training. Stretching causes muscle fibers to contract and then lengthen, providing your muscles with an influx in size during strength training. Wondering why you’ve plateaued and can’t bulk up or see a change in overall strength? Stretching may be the key!

Increased Strength

  • As previously mentioned, stretching increases muscle mass, leading to an increase in strength. A study found that when participants combined stretching with their regular exercise routines, they increased their overall performance on a number of weight machines in the gym — as much as 32% for knee extension exercises and 15% for knee flexion exercises.

Looking to push past that plateau and crush your personal records? Visit The Gym of New Jersey, Jersey Strong!