The term Active Recovery otherwise known as AR is used in the weight and fitness industry as the engaging in a series of low-frequency workout routines after each workout. These exercises are generally done during the cool-down phase immediately after a successful workout or can be used in itself as a workout program during rest times following a daily exercise routine.
By allowing the body a recovery period during any training program is a vital step as this allows the body and specifically the muscles to effectively adapt to the rigors and stress of the workout routine and is seen as the actual time when the results of the training will take place through muscle building and recovery. High frequency workouts have the strong tendency to effect minor tears in the muscle tissues damaging them. These intense workouts have been typically associated with significant decrease in muscle function and overall performance when completing everyday tasks. Instances of increased muscle tenderness and soreness, alterations respective to muscle sequencing, recruitment patterns and loss of flexibility have all been associated with intense high frequency workouts.
Active Recovery workouts are designed with the aim of increasing the blood flow within the body thus increasing the the ability of the body to remove specific enzymes from within the muscle tissue responsible for muscle damage. Additionally Active Recovery serves in allowing the body to increase the range of motion respective to the areas affected during the workout.
Participating in short high frequency exercises in cases the lactate levels otherwise referred to as lactose acid levels within the body which have been found to restrict muscle growth, decrease performance and inevitably result in premature fatigue of the exerciser. Scientific studies comparing active recovery to passive recovery or complete rest periods found that the reduction in lactate levels for the first few minutes in each were basically the same. However when compared 15 to 25 minutes later, it was observed that those who participated in an Active Recovery workout routine were seen to display a higher level in the removal of lactate.
Lactate produced within the body is typically removed by several organs within the human body with the majority of this enzyme removed by the skeletal muscle. During a short high frequency workout, our bodies rapidly produces lactate which remains within the muscle tissue after the workout is completed. Although lactate levels have been observed to not be affected in Active recovery times under 10 minutes this workout has been proven quite effective in increasing performance when used during short rest and recovery times in-between exercise sessions.
By effectively optimizing recovery time during a workout will allow the exerciser to benefit from an increase in performance value over time.
One of the most common and yet effective post workout active recovery events is the "cool down" after an exercise routine. The aim of this routine is based similarly to the the effects obtained during the exercise recovery in which assistance is offered to the body in allowing it to lower the levels of lactate or lactic acid.
Most athletes strongly suggest that the duration and frequency of the exercise routine be significantly lowered after 2 to 3 days of high intensity training. This reduction in intensity effectively allows the body and it's muscles to successfully adapt to the stress associated with the training routine. During this recovery period light and low frequency exercises should be conducted in a series of no more than 30 minutes which will allow the body to lower the lactate levels and thus allowing the muscles to repair themselves resulting in enhanced strength and increased muscle mass.