Active recovery describes the activity you do when you’re not crushing your muscles with resistance training. Hiking through woodlands, cycling down mountains, swimming laps, or taking a yoga class are all examples of active recovery. For this purpose, we don’t want anything so strenuous that it taxes your central nervous system, immune health, or muscle fibers. It needs to be submaximal yet just intense enough that your body has to respond by increasing core temperature and blood flow.
Traditionally, the only two benefits that people credit this type of exercise for is energy consumption and cardiac health. They couldn’t be more wrong! In fact, active recovery can help you build muscle.
1) Nutrient Transport
The food you eat gets processed through the GI tract until it’s broken down and ready for transportation to the relevant place. As you may have noticed, being active helps speed up nutrient transportation because it encourages the food to pass through the intestines quicker. With more movement comes faster blood flow.
This also contributes toward nutrient transport around the body.
This benefits your muscle-building aspirations because in order to recover and ultimately develop muscle, you must be able to sustain a fast rate of nutrient absorption. It’s no good eating the nutrients you need but experiencing sluggish nutrient uptake.
2) Lactic Acid Removal