You've probably heard about active recovery and that it's something you "should" do, but maybe you don't know what it really means—or maybe you're stuck in an active recovery rut.
I define "active recovery" as workouts I typically do, but at about 40 percent of the effort and volume, or lower intensity activities that work on your weaknesses. It’s a chance to allow your body to recover at an optimal rate—you’re not placing enough stress on the body to hinder recovery, but you’re getting that blood circulating and joints moving instead of taking the day off entirely.
Active recovery is also something to focus on while trying to heal injuries, prevent injuries, and something to do when you just want a good dose of endorphins without pushing yourself too much. While I love active recovery choices like yoga, hiking, and walking, my very favorite form of active recovery as a personal trainer is self-myofascial release, or SMR, because of its immensely comprehensive benefits. The most common form of SMR is foam rolling, but it also includes massage, ART, Rolfing, and trigger-point therapy.
After my hip surgery a few years ago, SMR became my best friend and best advocate for my recovery. Surgery itself is traumatic to the body, but a major joint surgery like mine required rehabbing my hip, the muscles around it, and the way my brain controlled my body’s movements. While SMR is not an exclusive cure or rehabilitation for any one injury, it can absolutely help expedite the process.
In order to understand how you can use SMR to boost your recovery and get stronger, faster, and healthier, let's start with the facts.