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If you train seriously for any sport, then you run the risk of burnout, repetitive strain and injuries. You can feel sore, tired and drained, and it can be difficult to keep going from session to session.

It’s important to understand when you need to rest, and when ‘active recovery’ makes the most sense.

Rest vs Active Recovery

Rest is a good idea if you are actually injured, or if you have been training hard for a long time and are showing signs of not just physical burnout, but also mental burnout. Rest will help you to recharge your batteries, and to heal any nagging injuries. A few days off where you vegetate and do nothing will help your body to repair itself, and will let you devote some time to other parts of your life so that you can get some mental clarity back. Read 4 Remedies For Arthritis Pain You Should Try.

Active recovery, on the other hand, is a good way to keep your body ticking over if you’re a little tired but generally feeling OK. It can be helpful for people who are sore, but who still have some energy and enthusiasm to train.

Imagine you’re a weightlifter who worked out to failure yesterday. Today, you’re going stir-crazy and you can feel some DOMS coming on. You want to do something, but your legs are like jelly and you don’t want to lift heavy. Active recovery is a good fit for that situation because you can go for a short run, or a leisurely bike ride, get out of the house and have some fun without having to worry about your legs giving out on you.

Active recovery is low intensity and gentle. It gets the blood flowing which will clear out all of the lactic acid, and it can loosen up stiff joints because it lets you do things that are a little different to what you normally do in your sport.

Many people choose yoga as a form of active recovery, because it’s low impact, relaxing, and a good way to keep yourself limber. It is therapeutic, and it lets you stretch off in a safe way, preparing you for your next workout. Pain Relief Patches, Know Why Are They Used By Sport Professionals .

Knowing When to Rest

Sometimes, rest is more appropriate, and a big part of being a professional athlete is knowing when to rest and when to keep going. If you’re injured, rest. If you are turning up to practice and just going through the motions, and nothing can bring your focus back, then just rest. A few days off here and there will not set your skill back far but will allow you to find some mental clarity. It makes more sense to take that time out than to put yourself into a situation where you are going to get injured, and be unable to train at all.

Rest and recovery go hand in hand. If you train smart then you will be able to make the most out of your season, and keep up the competitive pace while remaining injury free.  Read more about Pain Relief Patches .