At the end of November 2017, I put up a post talking about rest and recovery. Which spoke about the difference between rest and recovery and a couple of ideas on how to do both.
One of the ways to recover is to be active. What does that mean and why?
So first off you do need to listen to your body. If your joints, muscles, tendons etc. are sore, taking a day off could help your fitness. Not hinder it. Now taking a day off does not necessarily mean do nothing (and there is nothing wrong with that if that is what your body requires). What you could do is active recovery
You might’ve heard me say, “If you’re sore come to the gym and train, go for a walk, a swim, a cycle, do yoga, do something.”
Do you know why? Active lymphatic drainage. A mouth full right?
When you train, blood flow is siphoned to an area in order to continue to fuel the activity. This increased local blood flow also triggers a certain amount of fluid accumulation. This build-up of fluid is the interstitial fluid balance. Which is more commonly noticed as the prolonged pump effect of a tough workout.
While the lymphatic system is pivotal to human function, too much local lymph can limit the recovery process of local tissues and the system as a whole. Having control over the amount of local lymph is pivotal to expediting recovery. We can do this in a couple of ways:
- Raise your arms and legs above the level of the heart in order to push lymphatic fluid back into central circulation.
- Go for a walk, a swim, a cycle. The active muscle contractions place pressure on the passive veins and lymphatic vessels to push fluid back into central circulation.
Said another way. If you don’t want to be crazy sore. Keep moving.