Visit Our Coronavirus (COVID-19)  Resource Section ⇒ X

CHKD Blog

Young woman meditating.

Rest and Active Recovery: An Important Step for All Athletes

Author: CHKD Sports Medicine, Kellie Gilmartin MSEd, ATC
Published Date: Friday, October 1, 2021

Training and workouts can put a strain on an athlete’s body. Many athletes push themselves to be the best, the strongest, or the fastest – and some are afraid to take a day off to recover. They fear they will fall behind or miss the opportunity to perform a little better. What many athletes don’t realize is that rest and recovery days are just as important to any regimen as the ones designated for workouts and training. These days allow the athlete’s body to perform at its optimal level and should be part of everyone’s workout plan.

Rest and active recovery days help in many ways. Every time you exercise, you break down muscle. Rest days allow the body’s muscles to recover and repair, which in turn builds strength.

Rest days also prevent overtraining. Constantly working out and training without recovery days can be detrimental to an athlete’s body. Breaking down muscles with no time to rebuild can lead to a body that can’t repair itself.

Rest days help prevent injuries. Repetitive movements of a sport take a toll on an athlete’s body. Taking a recovery day to do different movements or use different muscles is very beneficial in preventing overuse injuries.

Rest and recovery days also help mental health. Days off allow an athlete to clear their mind and enjoy some activities that don’t involve their sport.

Some signs that an athlete needs a rest or active recovery day include:

  • Muscle soreness that doesn’t go away a day or two after a normal workout.
  • Constant fatigue that doesn’t go away with sleep.
  • Overuse injuries occurring more often.
  • Mental health disturbances.

Athletes can still be active on rest and active recovery days. They can go for a walk, light jog, bike ride, easy swim, or practice yoga or meditation. These days are meant to incorporate easy, light exercise so that the body can recover from all the strenuous work it has done.

For most athletes, it’s recommended to take at least one to two rest or active recovery days each week. This can be different for every athlete. They need to listen to what their body is signaling to them and adjust accordingly. It may be hard for some athletes to allow their bodies rest or take an active recovery day, but if they want to perform at their best, these days are of utmost importance.



Like this post?

Sign up to receive our once monthly email with up-to-date sports performance and sports medicine information from CHKD's sports medicine experts.

About CHKD Sports Medicine

About CHKD Sports Medicine  CHKD's sports medicine program offers the most comprehensive care for your young athlete. From diagnosis and treatment to customized rehabilitation plans, we specialize in physical therapy and injury prevention programs for active children and teens. Our team is composed of pediatric orthopedic surgeons, sports medicine specialists, physician assistants, certified athletic trainers and pediatric sports medicine physical therapists.