Active Recovery Exercises | 12 To Complete On Rest Days

Active Recovery Topic

You have been training hard for a good week & now you feel it is time to take a rest day. Rest days are just as important as your training days. So, if you’re a martial artist, professional combat competitor, or fitness enthusiast who has trained hard, you have earned the time to relax or do an active recovery day.

There are times of where you don’t know what to do on your rest day. You can sit back and watch shows on Netflix & Amazon Prime, but that can get very boring. To avoid boredom, there are active recovery exercises & activities you can do to stay occupied & lightly active.

So, you can do exercises of low intensity or do fun activities that are not exhausting to you. Active recovery is a great way to keep the body going & also allowing the muscles to recover while moving at a low-intensity rate. These type of days are enjoyable & relaxing, which is why I want to share what you can do on these types of days.

walking, man, person

1. Walks

Going on walks around your neighborhood, park, and many other places is a great active recovery exercise. It’s relaxing, especially when it’s a nice day outside to enjoy the weather & getting your Vitamin D from the sun.

Getting your Vitamin D is very beneficial for the human body since it helps enhance your mood and helps keep your bones & muscles healthy. Walking can also enhance blood & oxygen flow through the body, which is key to a good recovery.

Active Recovery Exercise- Jogging

2. Jogging

Besides going on walks, going on light jogs is another excellent active recovery type of exercise to do as well. Light jogs work your cardiovascular system, but at a 30-50% capacity rate. So it’s not hard on the body at all.

Active Recovery Exercises- Cycling

3. Light Stationary Cycling

If you decide to go to the gym on an active rest day, going on a stationary bike is another excellent recovery exercise you can do. If you have one at your home gym, why not use it for 5-10 minutes.

Cycling at a low & moderate speed is a great way to keep your heart rate going but at a low-intensity level. So coast & enjoy yourself while you’re cycling.

Active Recovery Activity- Bike Riding

4. Bike Riding

Besides using the stationary bike, you can also take your bike out of your garage & go out for a ride around your neighborhood. On Healthline, they have mentioned how bike riding doesn’t put pressure on your joints. 

So it’s awesome to for actively recovering while coasting around the outdoors to enjoy the weather to calm yourself down. 

5. Light Calisthenics

Light calisthenics or bodyweight exercises are other options that you can do on your active rest day. So you have a routine of doing:

  • Push-ups 
  • Shoulder accelerators 
  • Squats 
  • Burpees 
  • Sit-outs 
  • Dips
  • Jumping jacks
  • Lunges

There are so many other different light calisthenics that you can do besides the ones mentioned above. But, it’s great way to keep your muscles active except, you’re not pushing yourself too hard.

6. Light Resistance Band Exercises

Besides calisthenics, you can also choose to do light resistance band exercises. So you have the option of either doing rows, front squats, shoulder press, bicep curls, tricep extensions, etc. 

Again, don’t go too hard. So, use a band that has 10-35lbs of light resistance, which is more than enough on an active rest day.

7. Active Stretching

A day to stretch on your rest day is also an excellent way to recover actively. If you’re the type that misses out on stretching after your workouts, then having the time to do it on your rest day will make up for it. 

Having tight muscles is not fun, especially for those who are combat sports athletes. So stretching to develop flexibility & mobility is very important if you want to perform a proper punch or kick in martial arts.

people, woman, yoga

8. Yoga

Yoga is another active recovery exercise that you can do to build flexibility & improve your breathing. Breathing in yoga helps you relax your mind & teaches you how to recover faster. If you’re in martial arts, breathing is essential in knowing how to control your energy.

Century Martial Arts have specified that the breathing patterns from martial arts are slightly different from yoga. However, it can still be transitioned over. The same thing goes for developing flexibility & dexterity since it gives you proper movement for martial arts.

Active Recovery Exercise | Tai Chi

9. Tai Chi

If you are learning Tai Chi, then you know it’s an excellent active recovery martial art that you can do on your rest day. The benefits from it are pretty similar to yoga accept it’s a different kind of exercise. 

The techniques, movements, & stances you learn from it teach you control & balance, which is excellent for improving mood, & aerobic performance.

Active Recovery Activity- Hiking

10. Hiking

Taking a trip to the mountains to hike is a great activity to do on an active rest day. Walking through trails is a low cardiovascular physical activity, so it’s not too hard on the body. 

It depends where you go since not every path you go around the mountain has the same level of difficulty. But it still a great activity to recover actively & relaxing the mind from enjoying nature.

slope, ski, snowboard

11. Skiing or Snowboarding

If you live in a place with long winters, go skiing or snowboarding. Skiing or snowboarding down the snowy mountains or hills can be tiring. But if you know how to control your pace & save your energy from doing either-or, it makes for an excellent activity on an active rest day.

12. Swimming

Swimming is another excellent active recovery exercise to do on a rest day. The benefits from it are just as good as what you get out from jogging. So if you don’t feel like jogging on your active rest day, change it up & go for a swim. 

Doing this recovery exercise allows you to work on your range of motion, which is not too hard on the body & helps you release tension from your joints. On Healthline, they mentioned that swimming is good for helping to reduce inflammation


Rest days that involve you doing light activities during your day off from martial arts training are awesome while recovering. If you want something fun to do while staying lightly active, you can pick any of the active recovery exercises & activities recommended.

Remember, it’s not necessary to go at a high-intensity rate on your rest day. So, keep it at a low intensity so that your body can recover properly while being lightly active.

If you have anymore questions about active recovery exercises & activities, please leave a comment, or send a message. 


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