How to maximize days off to get the most from your fitness routine

Fitness Gear

It’s easy to be overeager when it comes to working out, especially if you’re starting a new fitness routine. But if you don’t take rest days, you run the risk of an injury that will prevent you from exercising for much longer.

BestReviews is reader-supported and may earn an affiliate commission. Details.

Whether you’re training for a half-marathon or regularly find yourself pumping iron at the gym, recovery should be a part of your routine. 

Giving your body time to rest is incredibly important. Rest days allow your body to recover and grow stronger, and ignoring your body’s need for recovery is a surefire way to end up injured or overtrained. And if you get injured, you won’t be able to work out at all. 

Maximize the effectiveness of your on days with the help of these recovery tools.

Tools for recovery

While it’s essential to take full rest days as needed — we all need a bit of R&R on the couch sometimes — active rest days are a vital part of a comprehensive fitness regimen. Be proactive on non-workout days and reap the benefits of feeling fully recovered the next time you lace up your shoes or visit the gym.

Stretch your tight muscles

Lotus Printed Yoga Mat

Lotus Printed Yoga Mat

Strike a pose and flow into downward dog to loosen up tight muscles. Yoga is a low-impact activity perfect for rest-day recovery. Improving your flexibility has long term benefits, too. The Lotus mat is a budget option with a comfortable 3mm thick surface. Use it for stretching, weight training or meditation.

Sold by Amazon

Light strengthening

JAKKOFOXX Resistance Loop Exercise Bands

JAKKOFOXX Resistance Loop Exercise Bands

Resistance bands are suitable for beginners and advanced fitness enthusiasts alike. Use bands to strengthen your muscles or help deepen your stretches while you do yoga. This pack of bands offers extra-light to heavy resistance. If you’re a frequent traveler, grab your favorite band and use it to workout on the go.

Sold by Amazon

DIY deep tissue massage

Hyperice Hypervolt GO Deep Tissue Percussion Massage Gun

Hyperice Hypervolt GO Deep Tissue Percussion Massage Gun

Consistent use of your muscles strengthens them, but without attention, they’ll also become tight and inflexible over time. While we recommend treating yourself to the occasional sports massage, we also suggest you have some tools on hand for self-massage post-workout and on non-exercise days. This intense massager uses vibrations to relax muscles and speed up recovery. 

Sold by Amazon

SKLZ Foot Massage Ball

SKLZ Foot Massage Ball

The foot massage ball is a small 2.5-inch sphere that’s great for anyone with sore feet or plantar fasciitis. If you’re a runner or someone who spends a lot of time on your feet, this should be a part of your recovery routine. 

Sold by Dick’s Sporting Goods

TriggerPoint GRID Foam Roller 

TriggerPoint GRID Foam Roller 

Rolling your calves, hammies and buttocks on a dense grid of foam feels a bit like torture with a side of sweet relief, but we promise — it’s totally worth it. It’ll reach deep into those big muscles you use frequently to smooth out knots and loosen you up. 

Sold by Amazon

Add compression

2XU Recovery Compression Sock

2XU Recovery Compression Sock

There’s still a bit of a debate surrounding this type of gear, but many athletes swear by compression clothing. 2XU is one of the biggest names in compressive athleticwear. We like to don compression socks during workouts when our calves are feeling stiff and post-sweat session to reduce the chance of DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness). 

Sold by Backcountry

2XU Elite Recovery Compression Tights

2XU Elite Recovery Compression Tights

The brand also makes compression tights that wrap up both legs with compressive pressure. They’re ideal after a long bike ride or run, or any workout that’s leg-heavy. The idea is that they improve blood flow and decrease recovery times.

Sold by Backcountry

Fuel right

Vega Nutrition Sport Protein

Vega Nutrition Sport Protein

If you’re struggling to consume the correct amount of protein on a plant-based diet, try adding a plant-powered protein powder to your morning smoothie. A single serving of Vega’s sport-specific powder has a whopping 30 grams of protein and includes a mix of amino acids to replenish your body’s stores.

Sold by Backcountry

RXBAR Chocolate Sea Salt

RXBAR Chocolate Sea Salt

Nourish your body with enough protein and carbs post-workout to ensure your muscles have plenty of energy and building blocks to repair themselves. If liquid protein isn’t your jam, try a tasty bar option instead. RXBAR’s packaging delivers straightforward information about the product’s ingredients, so you can feel good about what you’re eating. Bars contain 12 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber to help with digestion. 

Sold by Amazon

Centrum Adult Multivitamin

Centrum Adult Multivitamin

Ideally, your diet provides your body with the required essential vitamins and minerals. Sometimes, though, it’s tough to fuel to perfection, and a deficiency may lead to decreased performance. Start your morning with a high-quality multivitamin to stave off nutrient deficiencies.

Sold by Amazon

Hydrate

Hydro Flask Wide Mouth 40 oz Bottle

Hydro Flask Wide Mouth 40 oz Bottle

Being even slightly dehydrated affects your athletic performance by a significant margin. Of course, it’s important to hydrate during hard or long efforts, but frequently people are already dehydrated before they even begin their workouts. Buy a quality water bottle — we like the Hydro Flask for its insulative properties and durable design — and keep it close throughout the day. Bring your water bottle everywhere, and you’ll learn to pay closer attention to your body’s thirst signals over time.

Sold by Backcountry

Nuun Electrolytes 8-Pack

Nuun Electrolytes 8-Pack

It’s also crucial to keep electrolyte levels in check. Drinking too much water leads to hyponatremia, which occurs when the sodium levels in your blood are too low. During extra long (or hard) efforts, pop an electrolyte tablet into your bottle to keep your levels in check, prevent cramping, improve performance and encourage speedy recovery times. 

Sold by Backcountry

 

Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.

Steph Coelho writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

Copyright 2021 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.

Trending Stories