Why? As Nick Rizzo, a competitive powerlifter and training director at RunRepeat.com, explains, “Your body needs time to rest and recover from your training regime.” See, it’s not when you’re literally sludging through mud, scaling walls, and dangling from Funky Monkey-inspired bars that you get strong. It’s after. “When you exercise and lift weights you’re creating tiny micro-tears in your muscles, which repair and grow back stronger,” Rizzo explains. But, for that to happen, you have to press pause on breaking down your muscles.
That’s where active rest days (sometimes called active recovery days) come in. Unlike total rest days—which typically involve couch-sitting, beer and TV—according to certified yoga instructor Alex Tan, founder of Schimiggy Yoga in Seattle, Washington, “Active rest days involve enough exercise to get the blood flowing, but not so much that it taxes your cardiovascular system or muscles.” This low intensity movement increases blood flow enough to carry waste products away from your muscle tissues, and circulate nutrients like oxygen and amino acids to them.
Scratching your finisher-headband clad head? We spoke to our friends at Reign, who this year are bringing you Pyramid Scheme and plenty of Reign Total Body Fuel to try, about the best low intensity workouts you can do. Let’s get stuck in.
5 LOW-INTENSITY WORKOUTS
Chaturanga and Shavasana may not be gritty, dirt-deep obstacles like Trench Warfare or Kiss of Mud, but these—and other yoga flow poses—are perfect for active rest days. For Tough Mudder athletes vinyasa, yin, and hatha yoga styles are solid active recovery day activities. There are now a number of yoga classes that can be done from the comfort of your home remotely.
Come on, mud-lovers, crank down the intensity, learn some breathing techniques, give your flexibility a boost, and make yoga your rest day MVP.
Repeat after me: jog. J-O-G. Not run, jog. As in, putting one foot in front of the other, sloowly. Jogging is the quintessential active rest day workout. That’s because it’s easy to modulate your intensity and stop when you need breaks. Yep, this run is so chill you can literally stop and walk if you start to feel out of breath or tired.
Just as every Mudders’ run pace is different on event day, the same is true for rest days. But while there’s no recommended mile/per hour pace, keep this in mind: you should aim to run for 20 to 40 minutes total, at a pace that would allow you to comfortably hold a conversation the whole time.
Biking is a wonderful recovery options. Just be sure to keep the intensity low and focus on proper movement and form. We’re talking a casual ride, here. He suggests keeping the intensity at 60 percent of your max effort. Basically, hard as it may be, you need to stifle your Need For Speed.
Moving the entire body, increasing your heart rate, increasing the blood flow to your muscles, and breaking that sweat is the main goal, and biking at this pace delivers on that. Just don’t forget your helmet—even the toughest Mudders need to protect their noggins.
Depending on where you live, a hike may or may not be doable. But, if you live near nature, get after it. Whether you go on a planned hike, or you’ve just gotten ‘lost’ in the woods with your kids or dog, what matters is that you are just up and active. Walking on an unpaved, mud path has the added bonus of strengthening your ankles, and you know, being a Mudders preferred environment anyway.
Hiking not your thing? Get your legs moving by walking around town instead. Walking is a low-impact, leisurely way to get your blood pumping. Pro tip: It really doesn’t need to be a long walk or at an incline. (Shocking, right?) We do recommend at least 30 minutes, though.
So, lace up, grab the dog, play your favourite podcast, or just listen to the sounds of nature, and head on out.
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