Active rest- you can do it. Training for Warriors PDX


Rest and Recovery is an art. Here at Training for Warriors Portland, we strive to use recovery to our advantage!

Knowing when to dutifully take the afternoon off in order to have a very productive week is huge, just like knowing when doing the exact same thing is an avoidance tactic.

I like talking about renewal because I think that it is paramount to our ability to be not only more productive but genuinely happy in the long run. Feeling like you're fresh, optimistic, excited, ready and willing is one of the most satisfying mindsets to have. Cultivating it through pre-planned processes in your life is important.

Here is one big example of what I am talking about.

Active rest: Anytime you yourself physically do something to speed up the body or mind's recovery process. You have to go out and physically do something to make these happen. The reason this concept is so powerful is that the body uses movement as a way to regulate itself. The quickest way to reset your emotions is to get your heart rate up. This is because endorphins come along and change your mental state by giving you some positive signals. Movement gets the blood and lymph traveling, which removes cellular waste, speeds up the restoration of damaged tissues and generally moves the body forward in its own healing process.

Active rest doesn't have to mean doing nothing!


Some examples of Active Rest include:



Physical Activity (running, swimming, manual Labor (chopping wood, cleaning your house)


Play (climbing trees, playing catch)

Breathing regimens

Postural relaxation

Tai Chi


I like this list because it illustrates the WIDE range of things considered active rest. Many of these things make you sweat quite a bit! Each of these activities gets you moving in some regard and they do wonders for your brain. Almost everything in this list allows you to get meditative and flow into a rhythm. None of these things implies a high degree of LOAD on the body (more to follow on physiological load). In a world of computer-bound people and car-commuters, activities like these can be, in effect, lifesaving.

Studies have been conducted on workers who exercise for an hour daily and then sit for 8 hours each day and the data is not very good for us humans. Shorter lifespans and heart disease are among the findings.

I direct my clients in the gym to active rest periods between their sets, on off-training days, and whenever they need to re-energize at work to do various drills that amount to active recovery. The exercises and drills they perform are designed to rehabilitate a limitation or strengthen a weakness, but these drills are genuine active rest.

In the long run, the point is to enhance quality of life and vitality and in the short term, to simply work through muscle stiffness and faulty joint mechanics.

Coach Josh here from Training for Warriors Portland, helping YOU bring out the warrior within!