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Before you get too excited, we’re not saying become a couch potato while eating anything and everything your heart desires. What we mean is: active rest can be just as important to your health and fitness as exercising is. Keep this in mind, especially when you might not have a choice. Like when you have visitors or even when public holidays mean the entire family is underfoot and your time on the saddle is just not the same.

The principle is very simple. During active training, your muscles don’t get the chance to repair and rebuild. But when you’re giving them a break, your body gets to rebuild itself and your muscles get the time they need to get stronger. So recovery time really helps you reap the rewards of your training.

But what kind of rest are we talking about?
Well, you definitely don’t get a free pass to simply sit on your well-toned derrière. We’re talking active rest, which is more like light or easy exercise.  Try these options out:

  • a walk outside
  • a yoga class
  • a casual, low-intensity gym session
  • a relaxed cycle, maybe with your kids, if you have
  • kick a ball or throw a Frisbee around with your kids or a friend
  • a low-intensity swim

A good active rest day will have you feeling stronger and faster the next time you hit the road.

Feed your muscles

There are such things as muscle-building foods. The ideal recovery mix after a good session (60 minutes) should be a combination of carbohydrates and protein and should ideally be eaten within 30 minutes of the end of your session. And you don’t need to spend lots of money on high protein shakes.

Low-fat/fat-free drinking yoghurts/milkshakes/fruit smoothies, fruit combined with some lean biltong or a simple peanut butter and jam sandwich can also do the trick. If you’d prefer to have a shake, opt for one that gives you protein and carbohydrates.

Discovery Health’s HealthyFoods is a great to motivate you to fill your basket with all the right foods for your resting body.So instead of feeling guilty about taking it easy on your body, see your rest days as part of your training regime. Your muscles will thank you for it.

Our team of experts has tried to ensure that all articles you see are informative and educational, however, if you suffer from any medical conditions or injuries, please always check with your medical practitioner. In the same light, our recipes do not take into account any allergies, medical conditions or intolerances, and it is important that you are aware of what is safe for you before enjoying any of these recipes.