Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Active Recovery Day

Today I started with an early morning active recovery 30 minute swim. Active recovery or active rest refers to a workout done at a reduced intensity and volume.  Fundamentally, active rest is just meant to be a light/easy day.  Mentally, it promotes relaxation for you after officially kicking your own butt and now you can relax, and get ready for your next period of increased intensity or volume workouts.  

Symptomatically, it reduces pain, soreness, and/or stiffness that occurs after one increases exercise intensity, exercise duration, or participation in eccentric exercise.  As we exercise, we have to supply our muscles with energy and nutrients in order to have our muscles function properly. This is done primarily through blood flow. Now, as a muscle absorbs nutrients and energy, it produces waste products, and the build up of waste products induces pain.  So the goal is to reduce pain and let your muscles get stronger. 

The best way to speed up this process is massage.  What does massage do for a cyclist? First and foremost massage promotes recovery by flushing the toxins up to the heart so that new oxygenated blood can circulate. The massage therapist will always rub the muscles upwards towards the heart. The massage is actually pushing out the muscle’s carbon dioxide rich blood to the lungs and heart which is then filtered to come out as oxygen rich blood that goes back into the muscles. The body will do this naturally but massage drastically speeds up the process. In addition to this, massage prevents injury with the help of stretching. I get a massage about every 2 weeks thanks to a great Christmas present from the fabulous Mary lee.

So today, I will end the day with a massage at  My Body Sage Massage Therapy in Shrewsbury, MA. Owner/therapist, Karen Potter, is a Nationally Certified Massage therapist with a B.A. in Psychology. She has been working as a massage therapist since 2004 and has been an elite level mountain bike racer since 2002.  You can follow Karen's racing at or at


Queen, E. Active recovery: low-intensity exercise may be better than complete rest after competition.
Updated May 5, 2009. Retrieved July 31, 2011.

Schurman, C. Active recovery.
Updated November 2003. Retrieved July 31, 2011.