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What Is Active Recovery And Why Is It An Important Strategy?

7th February 2022

7th February 2022

By Beth Shelper

If working out what kind of exercise routine or fitness goal you want to work towards wasn’t hard enough (what with all of the options, strategies and techniques), we’re sorry to break it to you, but to ensure that your recovery is effective and you keep yourself in tip-top condition to maximise your performance, you need to make sure that you’re taking care of yourself with a proper recovery technique, too.

Whilst this could sound pretty daunting (or, if you’re somebody that hates warming down even though you know it’s a necessity) boring, it’s actually a really exciting opportunity to make sure that you’re making the most of your fitness routine.

Whatever recovery routine you decide to pursue, whether it’s active or passive, one thing’s for sure: make sure you’re incorporating The Recover Capsules for the best results. And whilst there’s a huge range of recovery strategies that you can pick and choose from, today we’re talking about active recovery, and running you through some of our favourite active recovery exercises.

What is active recovery?

Active recovery basically describes the technique of recovery through activity. If you’re not sure what recovery through activity means, this refers to the strategy of incorporating a low-level, low intensity workout that follows a particularly strenuous workout or HIIT.

The idea behind active recovery is that this method of post-workout recovery is generally considered more effective than immediate rest (i.e, warming down gently is a lot better for you than plonking your bum down on the sofa immediately). Shame that, really.

This is because by immediately returning to rest, your body is more likely to cease up, with muscles becoming stiff and tight. By immediately entering active recovery (rather than a state of passive recovery… but more on that, later), you are keeping the muscles moving, ensuring that

Active vs passive recovery

If you’re ultra-attentive, you may have noticed that we just mentioned something called passive recovery. Good spot!

As we’ve said, when it comes to recovery techniques, there are a few that you can choose from, but in the fitness world, one of the biggest debates is around active vs passive recovery.

Whilst active recovery describes the method of getting (or rather, keeping) yourself moving after a workout, passive recovery is the complete opposite, and is pretty easy really, as it requires no movement at all.

Whilst initially this sounds pretty lazy, passive recovery is effective in the case of notable injuries (you know, like a broken bone or a strained tendon or ligament), so don’t write off the technique straight away. We just don’t recommend it if you’re trying to find a healthy way to recover and reduce soreness.

Our favourite active recovery exercises

The best thing about active recovery is that you can incorporate the technique really, really easily into your everyday life. We’re more than aware that everyone leads a very busy lifestyle, and some days, an extra twenty-minutes in the gym purely to warm down seems like time that you just don’t have to spare.

So, in order to make sure you can incorporate active recovery into your workout routine every single time you workout, consider perhaps walking or cycling to the gym, taking the stairs back to the showers, or incorporating any type of movement into whatever you’re doing next.

That call you urgently have to take after your gym class? Why not go on a walk whilst taking it. See how easy it can be?

Some great active recovery exercises include:

  • Running
  • Jogging
  • Walking
  • Cycling
  • Swimming
  • Yoga
  • Massages

Summary

When you’re feeling sore (or, if you’re reading this pre-workout, and want to avoid feeling sore), definitely start engaging in the active recovery techniques listed above. It’s important to be able to read your body, though.

If you’re feeling a little sore after a particularly heavy leg day, it’s definitely time to take a quick stroll around the block and get that blood flow going. On the other hand, though, if you’re in so much pain that you can’t really walk, or struggle to put any weight on a particular area, you should most probably be engaging in a more passive technique.

Most of all, remember to warm up and warm down… every single time. Take care of yourselves, take your recovery seriously, and keep up the good work, Innermo

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Innermost Investigates: The Truth On Power Plates
Vibration or ‘power plates’ are commonly met with a healthy dose of scepticism. And to be fair, standing on a plate and shaking, at first, doesn’t sound like the most effective method of exercise. What most people aren’t aware of, however, is that vibration plates were developed over 50 years ago by Russian cosmonauts to prevent the loss of muscle mass in space. They continue to be used to this day in space missions, even by NASA. If vibrating plates are good enough to be used on spaceships, then perhaps they’re good enough for the gym.  Innermost is here to investigate the benefits of using vibration plates (on Earth). We’ll answer all your burning questions including: What is a power plate? What does a power plate do? Do power plates work? And how do I use a power plate?  What is a power plate? How do they work? A vibration plate (often called a ‘power plate’) is an exercise machine that sends high-speed vibrations through the entire body. This stimulates your muscles to automatically contract up to 30-50 times more per second than usual. To maximise stimulation, vibration plates move in multiple directions simultaneously – up and down, left and right, front and back. As your body naturally attempts to stabilise itself against the shaking, it engages lots of muscles (many of which aren’t engaged during conventional exercise). And since this stabilisation occurs automatically, you hardly feel it.  8 benefits of vibration plates Ok, so new muscles are engaged a lot more than usual. That sounds great. But what are the actual benefits of power plate exercise?  Saves time Your muscles are working harder, so it takes less time to reach the same goals, cutting down on your workout time. Remedial therapist and Power-Plate specialist trainer Mark Andrews call power plates “the microwave of fitness”. Low impact Power plate exercise is considered low impact, making it suitable for all ages and fitness levels. It is also low impact on joints and ligaments – making it a great form of exercise for people who want to ease into exercise – for example, if you’re a bit older or recovering from an injury. Fat-loss benefits Power plates are a fat burn booster, but at the end of the day, the most proven method for fat-loss is correct nutrition and a calorie deficit. Innermost also offers nutritional supplements for healthy and sustainable fat-loss including The Lean Protein, The Define Booster and The Tone Capsules. Muscle strength and toning benefits Since so many muscle groups are working at the same time and 30-50 times more than usual, your muscles will strengthen and tone even from just standing on a power plate. Improved circulation Vibration plates can be used as a massage tool, which increases circulation in the massaged body parts. Increase core strength, stability, and balance All exercises on a vibration plate forces your body to engage its core to balance and stabilise. Certain exercises such as press-ups or planks (see 5 power plate exercises below) amplify this benefit even more. Increase Flexibility According to the International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance, using a power plate when stretching (before or after a workout) is more effective than stretching alone. At-home If you’re working from home, too far from a gym, or simply enjoy the convenience of home workouts, you can purchase a power plate to use in the house. A personal power plate and power plate move are both relatively compact pieces of equipment so can fit easily into your home. You can check out more options here. How do I use a power plate? 5 power plate training exercises Plank Get onto the floor and place your forearms onto the power plate. Gently move your knees away from the power plate until your back is completely straight. When you feel confident, have only your toes touching the floor and lift your knees off the ground. Hold for 30 seconds. Press up Similar to the plank, except your hands are on the power plate, shoulder-width apart with your arms out-stretched and locked at the elbows. Again, your back is straight, and you can start with your knees on the floor. When you are confident you can lift your knees off the floor and have just your toes touching the floor. Hold for 30 seconds. If you can, gently bend your elbows to bring your body down close to the power plate and then straighten your elbows again to bring your body back up – congratulations you’ve just done a press-up on a power plate! Leg crunches Sit in the centre of the vibration plate. Place your hands behind you on the edge of the power plate and bend your elbows to help you gently lean back. As you lean back, lift your legs off the ground to counter-balance yourself. The lower half of your legs (below the knee) should be parallel to the floor. Hold for 30 seconds. Squat Stand on the power plate with feet shoulder-width apart and toes facing forward. Using out-stretched arms that are parallel to the floor to balance you, gently bend your knees to bring your body down. Hold for 30 seconds. Then gently straighten your knees again to go back up. Keep your back straight at all times. Lunge Stand one ‘stride’ (long-step) away from the power plate. Then, with one leg, take one long step onto the power plate, keeping your toes forward. Gently bend the leg that is on the power plate at the knee, keeping the other leg straight at all times (you should really feel a stretch in the straight leg). Hold for 30 seconds. Then step off the power plate and change legs (i.e. if you stepped with your left leg first, now step with your right leg). So there you have it, a power plate is a space-age exercise machine that boasts lots of fitness benefits. If you’re looking to level up your exercise routine then this is a great option for you. Next time you’re in a gym give it a go, you might be pleasantly surprised! Sources: Is whole-body vibration a good way to lose weight and improve fitness? The 8 Best Ways to Exercise With A Vibration Plate All You Need to Know About: Power Plates The Power Plate: A Space Age Relic Inspires a New Form of Exercise - The New York Times (nytimes.com) Read more
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